In our effort to increase public awareness about fraud, we highlight widespread examples as they come to our attention. This section offers descriptions of some common frauds and scams along with suggestions to prevent being victimized. Other helpful links to industry and government fraud Web sites are provided, as is information on where to file a complaint.
The counterfeit cashier's check scheme traditionally targets people who are selling items over the Internet or through classified ads. The cashier's check given to a seller and/or potential employee may be fraudulent and eventually returned to the bank.
Credit card fraud involves the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, or number from those cards, to fraudulently obtain money or property. This scam can take many different forms and often relies on gaining vital information from unsecure Web sites
Debt elimination schemes involve a promise to eliminate burdensome credit card, mortgage or other debt for an up-front fee. Organizers of these schemes create fictitious documents for the victim to present to the holder of his debt. These types of scams may result in the loss of real estate and up-front money as well as a damaged credit history.
Employment/business opportunity schemes come in many forms. Through these schemes, scam artists solicit individuals, sometimes by creating a fictitious product or service to sell, to steal money and/or one's identity.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses personally identifying information, such as a person's name, Social Security number or credit card number, without permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. This type of fraud affects as many as 9 million Americans annually.
Lottery schemes usually involve fraudsters who randomly contact people advising them they've been selected as the winner of a lottery. The fraudsters then try to persuade people to forward sums of money to receive their larger prize money.
Mortgage foreclosure rescue scams are designed to prey on individuals desperate to avoid home foreclosure. Scam artists attempt to obtain fees for services that purport to help victims keep their homes. These services don't stop the foreclosure process. Some scam artists may offer to refinance a mortgage as a means of saving a home from foreclosure.
Nigerian Letter or "419" schemes involve scam artists who sometimes pose as business owners, bankers or foreign government officials needing assistance to move money from their country. Scam artists may attempt to learn personal and banking information and collect an up-front fee to supposedly transfer funds.
"Smishing" is the sending of text messages to cell phones to solicit personal information. Fraudsters use this information to steal your identity or to withdraw funds from your banking account.
Fraud is constantly changing. Learn more about fraud trends and the regulatory perspective on identifying and managing fraud risk by viewing the documents below.