Despite the emergence of the internet, fraud committed through the mail persists. In fact, mail fraud makes up some of the most common types of fraud offenses.
The following are three examples of common forms of mail fraud. Allegations of these or any other kind of fraud necessitate a serious legal defense strategy.
One method of mail fraud involves sending out documents that solicit sensitive information. For example, a victim may receive a fake credit card application asking for his or her full name, address, Social Security number and phone number. With this information, someone may be able to use that person’s identity, or sell it to another party to use.
Synthetic identity theft
Many people use real children’s Social Security numbers or even completely made up numbers along with fake names and birthdates to apply for credit cards through the mail. Even though a credit card company will deny such an application because the fake applicant naturally does not have any credit, the application and denial process has essentially created a record of that nonexistent person. Once this “person” exists in the system, he or she can be added to accounts that already exist. For example, someone may attach the synthetic identity to an accomplice’s account until the fake persona has a good enough credit rating to receive its own credit cards.
The outcome of this is that people may discover that there is already a credit history attached to their Social Security number when they first apply for their own account.
There are still many mail-based Ponzi schemes circulating around the country. These often take the form of chain letters promising recipients that a small investment will lead to massive returns. It is illegal for such letters to actually request money, though, and doing so qualifies as a form of mail fraud.