Phone fraud refers to a method of conducting scams. These scams usually involve individuals being contacted on the telephone and told that a call is in reference to one thing when the caller really has ulterior motives. In most cases, these callers either want money or personal information.
For most people a telephone is a mode of communication. For individuals engaging in phone fraud, a telephone can be an effective criminal tool. There are numerous means and motives for engaging in this type of behavior. A popular example is the fake telemarketing call.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that individuals who use this method tend to be very good at what they do. They often have all of the characteristics of a sincere professional, including a perfect pitch for some item or service. While the innocent people on one end of the line believe they are being offered legitimate products, the scammers are generally trying to obtain some type of information, which can include account numbers, social security numbers, or the billing addresses associated with certain accounts.
Another way of conducting phone fraud is for scammers to contact individuals acting as if they are calling on behalf of a company that the innocent person on the other end is affiliated with. Examples of this include individuals portraying themselves as bank representatives or agents from companies with which a person has recently conducted business, such as a catalog or utility company. The callers commonly act as if there was problem processing a payment or as if some type of information has been lost.
Phone fraud is usually a more serious crime than individuals may assume. Criminals engaged in this type of behavior can do a substantial amount of financial damage. Penalties for conviction may include hefty fines and incarceration. Criminals may be ordered to pay restitution, and this crime is likely to have an adverse impact on immigration efforts.
Individuals are commonly encouraged to make note of as many details as possible and to file reports if they suspect that someone has attempted to make them victims of these sorts of scams. There are often specific agencies or departments within law enforcement agencies that focus on phone fraud. Many of the scams are so vast that these entities are required to work with others like them in other parts of the country or the world to execute justice.