Financial frauds come in all shapes and sizes. But there is no such thing as a “harmless” scam and many people are surprised to learn that some of the most common financial frauds carry some serious penalties.
While the internet has made our lives easier in many ways, it has also made it easier for fraud to take place – or at least allow criminals greater access to people they can defraud.
It has also muddied the waters for many legitimate, law-abiding individuals and businesses. While their operations may be legal, small errors can create the appearance of improprieties and raise red flags for overzealous government watchdogs. This can land those businesses and individuals in some serious hot legal water.
It also builds a strong case for having a good criminal defense lawyer on your team. Small mistakes can add up to big impacts that can include large fines and even prison time.
Federal Trade Commission’s Tope Financial Frauds
The Federal Trade Commission lists the most common financial frauds each year. By the end of the third quarter in 2022, the agency had received 1,692,139 reports of some type of fraud. This includes identity theft types of fraud with 864,699 reports and includes credit card fraud (338,684 reports), loan or lease fraud (121,708 reports), bank fraud (120,481 reports), and government documents or benefits fraud (46,439 reports).
The most reported fraud categories for 2022 were:
- Imposter Scams – A person pretends to be someone else in order to gain the trust of individuals. The imposter uses that trust to get information or money from the person they are scamming.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $2,016,200,000
- Online Shopping and Negative Reviews – Failing to deliver on time or not delivering at all, undisclosed fees and costs, refusal to honor guarantees on legitimate purchases that were made online.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $270,700,000
- Investment Related – Fraudulent investment opportunities in art, day trading, rare coins, gold and gems, and other investment products. Fraudulent reports by or about companies offering investment advice, training, information, or seminars.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $2, 656,500,000
- Prizes, Sweepstakes, and Lotteries – Promotions that offer free prizes but charge a fee, foreign sweepstakes, and lotteries that are offered via email, fax, mail, or phone.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $79,900,000
- Business and Job Opportunities – Business opportunities that include work-at-home schemes, new business startups, job scams, multi-level marketing schemes, fraudulent employment services, job listing scams, and idea or invention promotion schemes.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $181,200,000
- Internet Services – Problems canceling an online account or ISP, website content which can include fraudulent fee-based content or advertisements, online payment issues, undisclosed changes, fraudulent services for website promotion and design, and social networking site scams.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $250,000,000
- Telephone and Mobile Services – Advertising related to coverage areas, rates, or mobile plans, mobile device problems, problems with downloads or apps, charged for toll-free numbers, unauthorized switching of a phone service provider, unauthorized charges, VoIP service problems, fraudulent pre-paid phone offers, unsolicited faxes.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $21,200,000
- Health Care – Misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive claims about weight loss products, dietary supplements, weight loss services, health spas, infertility services, impotency treatments, HIV test kits, health spa equipment, sunscreens, complaints about prescription or OTC drugs.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $15,900,000
- Travel, Vacations, and Timeshare Plans – Fraudulent or deceptive offers for low-cost or free vacations, timeshare offers that are misleading, and cut-rate or low-rate travel packages for students.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $12,100,000
- Foreign Money Offers and Fake Check Scams – Emails or letters promising a percentage of a large sum of money (usually millions of dollars) that originate in a foreign country if the victim provides bank account numbers, money, or other PII or financial information. Foreign lottery schemes, mystery shopper schemes, internet purchases that are overpaid with a counterfeit check by the scammer who asks the victim to wire the difference back to them immediately after they deposit the check which leaves the victim with a significantly overdrawn account by the time the counterfeit check is caught.
- Total loss by end of 3rd quarter 2022: $83,100,000
Computer Crime Laws in Nevada
Since many financial fraud crimes tend to be carried out on the internet, an individual or business can find themselves facing a variety of charges for financial fraud, cybercrimes, and even federal crimes in some cases.
In the state of Nevada, it is a Class C Felony to unlawfully gain access with intent to defraud or obtain property or cause damages that exceed $500 or impair or interrupt a public utility or public service. Even attempting is a crime.
Unlawful access, denial of use of access, and unlawful interference are misdemeanors under Nevada law.
A felony cybercrime that involves financial fraud carries a 1 to a 5-year prison term and a minimum fine of $100,000 as well as restitution to the victim. Federal penalties can include fines, up to 20 years in prison, and restitution.
If you have been accused of financial fraud in Nevada, you need legal representation. Even if you are innocent, don’t trust that the system will see its error and you will get off on your own merit. If prosecutors believe that they have enough evidence against you to charge you and bring you to trial, that’s serious and you aren’t likely to win without the help of a knowledgeable, experienced criminal lawyer. Call ATAC Law today and get the representation you deserve.
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