Financial fraud crimes are one of those things you hear about all the time but don’t think can happen to you. It’s a severe issue, though. The risk of credit card or debit card fraud, check fraud, or even identity theft crime is not as low as one might think.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than received 1.7 identity theft reports in 2021, and credit card fraud had nearly 390.000 reports. 25% of the people said they lost money to scams. In 2021, scam artists were able to get $1.7 billion by wire transfer from fraud victims.
In the infographic above from the FTC, younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people. Out of all reports, 43% were between the ages of 20-29, while 15% are 70-79.
Being a victim of financial fraud can cause trouble in many areas of your life. It can mess up your credit, make your default on reoccurring payments and end up with late fees, and even keep you from accessing your next paycheck.
As such, you should be prepared to deal with fraud should it ever happen to you.
What is financial fraud?
Financial fraud is a term used to describe a wide range of illegal activities that involve the use of money or other assets. Financial fraud can be perpetrated by individuals, businesses, or even governments. It can take many forms, from credit card fraud and identity theft to Ponzi schemes and insider trading. Financial fraud can have devastating consequences for victims, businesses, and the economy.
Fraud occurs when someone takes money, capital, or harms your financial health by using deceptive, misleading, or illegal practices. There are many ways to commit fraud, such as stealing your identity or investment fraud. No matter the type of fraud, it is critical to move quickly if you think you are a victim of financial crimes.
What to do if you think you’re a victim of financial fraud
1. Research the Kind of Fraud You’re Dealing With
The thing about financial fraud is that it doesn’t always happen in the same way. One person may be a victim of credit card fraud while another could be losing funds due to internet and online crimes, employee fraud, or investment fraud schemes.
It pays to understand what you’re dealing with as best as you can. Take some time to research the different types of fraud and find what describes the situation you’re in. This allows the search for the person at fault to narrow down and get you to a solution faster.
Examples of fraud
In 2021, the top 3 frauds reported were:
- Imposter scams
- Online shopping fraud
- Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries
But here is a list of some of the most infamous frauds perpetrated:
- Mail Fraud
- Driver’s License Fraud
- Health Care Fraud
- Debit and Credit Card Fraud
- Bank Account Takeover Fraud
- Stolen Tax Refund Fraud
- Voter Fraud
- Internet Fraud
- Elder Fraud
- Identity Theft
- Fake Charities
- Mortgage Fraud
- Fake lotteries
- Debt collection fraud
- Telemarketing fraud
- Securities fraud
- Ponzi schemes
- Insurance fraud
- Bank fraud
- Stolen Social Security Number
- Stolen financial information
The first step you can take in protecting yourself from operations run by scammers is to become familiar with all the different common scams that exist, and the financial benefits fraudulent individuals are looking to obtain from their victims. As soon as you learn the way they work and their approach, you can easily identify the model behind their fraud and prevent falling prey to their attempts to steal from you.
2. Contact Local Authorities
As soon as you notice your credit or debit card is missing or your account has been compromised, call the local police. Let them know you’ve been a victim of fraud, especially if you think you were specifically targeted. Tell the police everything you can about the situation. You may only have a few details to share, like where you left your card and the kind of charges showing up, but it is important to have them included in the police report. You might even guess who is trying to take your money. Whether you’re onto something or you’re clueless, all the information you can give to the police department does help. It points the authorities in the right direction to catch whoever is trying to scam you.
3. Inform a Consumer Protection Office
Once you know the kind of fraud you’ve been affected by, you can report the crimes to federal agencies or state law enforcement agencies with more details. Don’t just continue the conversation with your local officers, though. You should also contact your state’s consumer protection office. Keep in mind that government agencies can’t act on your behalf alone. However, when officials start getting phone calls and similar complaints about the same situation or fraud claims against a particular business/organization, the fight against the fraudulent party becomes stronger. By joining a group, authorities can act on behalf of all victims instead of resolving one scam complaint at a time.
Fraud Reporting Resources
Below is a list of websites you can visit to gather additional information about reporting fraud. Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force – Report Financial Fraud – Stopfraud.gov Department of Justice – Report Fraud – Justice.gov Confidential referrals for crime victims – Victimconnect.org Consumer Complaint to FTC – Federal Trade Commission – FTC.gov Contact the FBI – FBI.gov
Make Your Case for Financial Fraud
There’s one more thing to keep in mind when dealing with financial fraud: the sooner you act, the better. There’s no sense in wasting precious time if you want to get every penny of your hard-earned money back. This is especially true if you’re dealing with corporate fraud.
Financial fraud victims are often left traumatized by the experience. If you feel you are a victim of fraud, stay calm, and take action. Time is of the essence. Follow the guide above so you can hold the people that committed the fraud accountable. Editor’s Note: Article was updated on October 10th, 2022, originally published on August 30th, 2018. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.