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Elements of wire fraud and how to spot it

Cases of wire fraud are common in New York and throughout the country. It is important to understand what constitutes wire fraud and some warning signs to be able to identify when it occurs.

According to the United States Department of Justice, the elements of wire fraud are similar to mail fraud except the acts use some type of electronic or telephone communication. It is a crime when someone purposely designs a scheme to defraud another out of money and this interaction takes place over interstate wire communications. In a court setting, a prosecutor must be able to prove that the defendant knowingly participated in a defrauding scheme electronically and used false pretenses. 

The Washington State Office of the Attorney General discusses some different examples of wire fraud. These include fake sweepstakes, phone or email money requests by a relative or friend, fake sellers or buyers of classified ad purchases, advance-fee loans, work-at-home job listings for international relayers, jobs for secret shoppers and fund-transfer scams.

There are some clear-cut warning signs that indicate a request for money is wire fraud and a scam. These include:

  • An email has multiple spelling and grammar errors
  • You get a confirmation code to use before they can withdraw money 
  • You get a request for payment along with a check with instructions to cash the check and wire a portion of it
  • You get a request to wire money
  • The caller uses a TTY service 

It is a safe bet that a request from overseas is a scam. In general, you should never send money to someone you do not know well, and if you do get a money request, follow up with the person directly.

 

 

 

 

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