Mail, wire and related frauds are federal crimes where the perpetrator has devised a scheme to defraud someone and has attempted to carry it out by using the U.S. Postal Service, or an interstate use of electronic means of communication such as a phone, a telegram, a fax, or the Internet.
A random few of the many, many examples include things like sending fake invoices, running crooked online auctions or something as simple as stealing from a neighbor's mailbox to find checks or prescriptions or credit cards offers and the like.
The flaw that permits mail, wire, Internet and similar frauds is nothing but old fashioned gullibility. "Congratulations! You've just won a brand new Cadillac! (or time-share, or trip to Paris, etc.)."
All you need to do is send in the "processing fee" . . . !
If something sounds too good to be true, it is! Don't fall for it.
The U.S. Post Office publishes a brochure illustrating what mail fraud scams might look like.
Did You Know?
Did you know that the mail and wire fraud laws are used for the purpose of stiffening the penalties for perpetrating all sorts of other kinds of frauds. Or, when evidence is not immediately present to charge an individual with federal fraud, mail and or wire fraud are useful prosecutorial weapons to get the case going.