Types of financial fraud
F inance is a "consistently attractive" area and a "breeding ground" for all kinds of deception. People tend to choose the easy way and find it difficult to resist the temptation to get rich quickly or buy an expensive product at a profit. All types of fraud are built on human weakness. Fraudsters work out scenarios in detail, taking into account the psychology of potential victims in order to deceive the vigilance of even the most careful and attentive.
Wandering circuses, which did not stay in one place for a long time, were engaged in fortune-telling - the simplest way to "cheat" for money. The victims themselves "gilded" the pen under the bewitching monotonous story of the fortune teller, or the fortune teller's friends lightened the clients' pockets during the "predictions".
The game of thimbles has survived to this day in the “repertoire” of fraudsters. The trick, and in fact - extortion, consists in the fact that the victim is offered to find an object, most often a ball, under one of three glasses. In the last seconds the dexterous hands of the "magician" always manage to move the ball.
With the development of technology, schemes begin to become more complex, the scope of possible scams expands. Common financial fraud methods today include:
- financial pyramids;
- Internet fraud;
- credit fraud;
- real estate schemes;
- theft of personal and other data.
One of the first pyramid schemes appeared in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. "Entrepreneurs" studied ways of short-term enrichment and began to lure citizens to invest their savings in the shares of structures that are now called "MMM" - after the famous financial pyramid of Sergei Mavrodi.
At the beginning of the XXI century, the level of financial literacy has increased, the psychology of behavior of ordinary citizens in the field of finance and economics has changed. New "entrepreneurs" began to come up with new get-rich-quick schemes, for example, short-term deposits at a high interest rate or investment projects, knowingly doomed to failure. For the first participants, such schemes become successful and profitable if they refuse from subsequent investments. The instruments of new fraudulent schemes are deposits, coupons, interest, which are accrued for attracting new participants to the chain. As a result of constant transfers in a short time, the lucky ones can really climb up the pyramid and get a long-awaited car or the first million.
You can recognize the "pyramid" scheme by several signs:
- The income is promised for attracting other participants.
- The high price of the product offered for sale.
- There are no clear deadlines and a predetermined amount of income. Specific information is often substituted with a schematic drawing that promises get rich quick if certain conditions are met.
- An offer to pay 1% of the cost of the car, and in a year - to receive it in full. Or the proposal to pay only the cost of the foundation of the object under construction, and the rest of the housing will be "paid" by the following participants, who will cost more to join the scheme.
- There is no registration in the country where the activity is carried out.
- Constant motivating lectures on the future of financial well-being, stability and freedom.
The Internet is not only the World Wide Web as a source of information, but also a network that fraudsters set up in the hope of catching gullible users.
Let's say a user needs to open an e-wallet to pay for a purchase. Along with the payment system, user data can get into automatic spam mailing. After that, “letters of happiness” begin to arrive in the mail with information about the inheritance, about the transfer of an astronomical amount, with a proposal to double or triple income, make a purchase and receive an expensive gift - the whole range of “profitable” financial offers that will allow you to make money quickly is difficult to cover.
Or, for example, a user took advantage of the "bonus" on the link and spun the "reel" at an online casino for free. After that, the e-mail will most likely cease to cope with the wave of incoming emails about promotions, favorable conditions and historical jackpots, which will become available after transferring at least $ 10 to the specified account opened in the casino in the name of the mailbox owner.
Another example - searching for a job through a browser makes the user a “target” for offers of high-paying work from home. He will be promised to pay 2-3 working hours at any convenient time at the rate of an average accountant. Most often they offer to type texts, collect pens, glue envelopes. But first they ask to transfer a small amount as a guarantee of the performance of the work and the safety of the sent material.
Sometimes scammers make a tactically correct move - they do not ask for advance payments, but offer to complete a test task. For example, on the exchange, a potential customer asks a copywriter to write a simple text to assess the quality of the work. After receiving the completed assignment, the "customer" sells the finished material, receives a fee, and immediately terminates contact with the copywriter.
There are plenty of unreliable sellers of goods on the Internet. It is quite easy to recognize cheating in online trading:
- the product costs much less than in other stores;
- the seller requires a 100 percent advance payment;
- the store opened recently;
- There are no customer reviews about the store on other sites, only on the site of the store itself.
If the owners of fake shops can be brought to justice, the violation is most often qualified as fraud on an especially large scale.
Not only professional fraudsters can abuse someone else's trust on the Internet, but also ordinary citizens who issue credit cards, but are not going to return borrowed funds. Or they draw up credit obligations on an especially large scale using false documents. This scheme includes another type of fraud - identity theft.
Sometimes credit unions act as swindlers in the field of lending. They prescribe force majeure circumstances in small print when they have the right to claim the collection of collateral. Another trick is a gradual increase in the interest rate for using a loan on conditions that are extremely unfavorable for the borrower. Termination of the credit institution's agreement in this case will be beneficial, since the same agreement specifies penalties.
The best way to avoid fraud is not to be tempted by low interest rates and carefully study the contract, where additional payments may be hidden: commission for opening an account and obtaining a loan, insurance against the risks of loan default, compulsory disability insurance, and so on.
Real estate schemes
Another common type of fraudulent activity is real estate scams. Sometimes "agents" in real estate conclude a contract for the rental of housing and ask for a while to provide the original documents for an apartment or premises. Then the law does not require such a condition - this is a direct sign that the documents are going to be used for the illegal sale of housing.
In order not to become a victim of scammers when renting an apartment or office space, it is wiser not to save money and pay for the services of a real estate agency. An ad trade executed at a price lower than the market price increases the likelihood of giving funds to crooks without getting anything in return. Swindlers rent an apartment and rent it out several times, for which they make duplicate keys and fake copies of ownership documents.
Major financial fraud in real estate is most often associated with the sale of housing under construction. In recent years, real estate developers, whom clients trusted, have been brought to justice, since it was difficult to recognize fraud - the first houses were actually built and populated.
Identity and other data theft
Fraud schemes in different areas have one thing in common: personal data falls into the hands of fraudsters. When transferring sensitive data: bank account number, code word, CVV2-code on the card - you need to be extremely careful. Data such as logins, passwords, bank card PIN-code should not be disclosed to anyone. The recipient must be carefully checked if he asks to send copies of certain documents: passport, tax and insurance numbers.
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All types of scams are similar. Scammers first steal the victims' personal data or documents. The victim is then tricked into taking action. In the financial sphere, it is not only outright deception, misleading or breach of trust that is considered a crime. Deception can be active and consist in deliberately misleading the owner of the property when providing inaccurate information or passive - failure to report information about certain circumstances.
Even at the “negotiation” stage, fraud can be recognized by the fact that fraudsters constantly distort and confuse information depending on the expected response. Another sign is persistent requests and persuasions to provide more than the victim has, funds, documents, data.
To be deceived does not mean to be stupid. A prompt appeal to the police increases the likelihood of collecting evidence and punishing fraudsters. Actions that harm citizens and organizations are recognized by the state as illegal. Fraud is criminalized by law. The penalties depend on the type of fraud and the amount of damage. This can be a fine, compulsory or corrective labor, imprisonment, confiscation of property, prohibition to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities. The maximum prison sentence for fraud is 10 years.