Mass marketing frauds are often considered to be white collar crimes involving the use of media for mass-communication such as the internet, mailing, and telemarketing. These crimes often use deceitful tactics to scam money from consumers and it is estimated that millions of Americans fall for mass-marketing schemes each year, resulting in the loss of millions of hard-earned dollars.
Mass Marketing Fraud is considered a white-collar crime because it often involves little or no violence toward the victim. Instead, such schemes are carried out with the confidence of the victim that a good or service will be delivered. This type of fraud depends heavily on the trust of the victim and the exchange of money before anything of value is delivered. Unfortunately, many victims of mass marketing frauds never recover the money that was stolen from them.
Types of Mass Marketing Fraud
Advance fee schemes are the most common types of mass marketing fraud. Advance fee schemes often involve victims who are encouraged to submit payments for goods or services up-front and wait for delivery. This type of scheme often comes in many variations and often relies upon extreme confidence on the part of the victim. According to the F.B.I., some commonly recognized examples of advance fee schemes are:
Nigerian Letter Fraud - Victims are told of large amounts of money in foreign accounts that need to be transferred to the U.S. The victim is often told that he or she will only need to act as an "agent" of transfer for the funds in question and will receive a "fee" for simply securing the release of said funds. The victim is often provided a counterfeit check to pay for the promised fees, and once they return actual funds to the scam artist, they often find themselves accountable for cashing a counterfeit check.
Overpayment Scams - Common overpayment scams involve eBay, Craigslist, and other websites that individuals use to sell goods. Victims are often contacted by an interested "buyer" who offers more money than the advertised price of the item. The seller is usually sent a counterfeit check and is asked to return the remaining balance (minus some "bonus fees") to the buyer. The seller usually discovers that he or she has been given a counterfeit instrument only after sending money back to the fraudulent party.
Sweepstakes Fraud - This type of fraud plays upon individual's belief that they have won a prize, sweepstakes, or lottery of some sort. They are often informed that they are a sweepstakes winner and must pay up-front fees to collect their prize or winnings. Once the victim has sent remittance, they often find there was no contest at all.
For more information on mass marketing fraud or white collar crimes, visit the website of Austin criminal defense attorney Ian Inglis.