Fraud is defined in Florida as using deception to intentionally secure unlawful gain. Most often, those who commit fraud are seeking monetary gain, but it can include much more than that. Using deception to obtain benefits, special treatment or valuables can all land a person with fraud charges.
Consumers are at the biggest risk of falling victim to fraud. Here are just some of the most common types of consumer fraud.
1. Online Shopping Fraud
Shopping online is a convenient way to buy everything you need. However, it often requires a credit or debit card. This is usually fine, however, entering your information leaves you open to hackers stealing your identity. To be safe, never enter your credit card information on a site you are unfamiliar with.
2. Advance-Fee Fraud
You should never give someone you do not know a large sum of money or your credit card information, even if that person promises a large return. Advance-fee fraud occurs when the victim is tricked into giving someone money or sensitive information, believing they will receive something of greater value.
One of the most famous examples is the “Nigerian prince” scam. Those who receive the e-mail or letter are told that a person claiming to be a Nigerian prince is in need of help. It asks the victim to provide their banking information so that the “prince” can transfer a large sum of money into the account and out of Nigeria. In exchange, the victim will be allowed to keep a sizeable amount of the money. However, no fortune is ever transferred to the victim’s account, and instead, the victim’s money is stolen. There are many variations of this scam, so it is important to never give out your banking information to anyone, no matter who they claim to be.
3. Application Frauds
You receive dozens of letters from banks every day offering you credit cards. It’s safe to say that most of these letters end up in the trash. Throwing away these applications can leave you open to fraud. These documents you throw out contain sensitive information that criminals can use against you. They are then able to fill out an application for a credit card using your information, potentially ruining your credit.
4. Mortgage Fraud
When homeowners are drowning in their mortgage, it can make them desperate for help. Unfortunately, they can turn to the wrong source and find themselves victims of fraud. Foreclosure rescue schemes, loan modification schemes, and equity skimming are just some of the scams used to defraud homeowners. The best thing to do is never accept unsolicited help from someone and always look closely at any deal appearing too good to be true.
To protect yourself from fraud, be very wary of handing personal information to people you don’t know, particularly if you’re asked to give money upfront! If you or someone you know is accused of fraud, be aware that these are very serious charges. Contact the experienced lawyers to find out if we can defend your case.
Call us at (727) 478-4125 for a free consultation by phone or at our office in Port Richey, FL.
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