The holiday season is a happy and busy time. The holiday season is supposed to be a time of joy and togetherness, but the theft of personal information seems to climb during this time of year. Under the common law system, fraud is considered a white-collar crime and is “defined as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act.” Fraud comes in multiple forms. In Washington, fraud encompasses many things, including but not limited to
- identity theft,
- illegal possession of an ID,
- credit card fraud,
- insurance fraud,
- writing bad checks,
- securities and investment fraud, and
Fraud Statistics of 2017
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does a survey of each year pertaining to the types of fraud that have been committed throughout the year. In 2017, the top fraud reported was again imposter fraud. Nearly one in five people who reported that they were a victim of an imposter scam lost money. There were 350,000 imposter scams reported in 2017, resulting in a total loss of $328 million. With imposter scams, the perpetrators often pretend to be someone close to the victim or someone “official.” For example, scammers may pretend to be one of the following.
- A loved one in trouble
- A government official
- Tech support for a fictitious computer problem (this particularly plagues senior citizens).
In the most recently published report, the FTC states that they heard from nearly 2.7 million people who had been defrauded in some capacity. Debt collection fraud was down 23 percent but is still categorized as a “top fraud,” followed by identity theft. Of all the individuals who reported they were defrauded via identity theft, the top measure for defrauding was credit card fraud. Shockingly, of all victims who reported fraud, an overall 21 percent reported a loss of money totaling $905 million. This was a $63 million increase from 2016.
People who did report fraud claimed that they were mostly contacted by phone, and as in recent years, they paid the fraud perpetrators by wire transfer. Credit card losses were close behind, scamming people out of $74 million by credit card fraud alone. Interestingly, younger categories of people reported fraud more than did those over 70 years old. However, when those over 70 reported frauds, they had higher monetary loss margins.
Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi
Fraud is a very serious crime in Washington. If you or a loved one has been arrested for fraud, you need the assistance of strong legal counsel as soon as possible. Steve Karimi is a top-rated criminal defense lawyer in the Seattle area. He is a former King County prosecutor who now uses his knowledge and insight into the legal system to fight for the rights of those accused. Do not hesitate to defend yourself. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today.