Wire fraud, known since 1872 gets mentioned for various crimes committed by all including many Indians in the United States of America. I would like to quote from the United States Department of Justice archives and define it as ‘The elements of wire fraud under Section 1343 directly parallel those of the mail fraud statute, but require the use of an interstate telephone call or electronic communication made in furtherance of the scheme. The four essential elements of the crime of wire fraud are: (1) that the defendant voluntarily and intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money; (2) that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud; (3) that it was reasonably foreseeable that interstate wire communications would be used; and (4) that interstate wire communications were in fact used) (citing Manual of Model Criminal Jury Instructions for the District Courts of the Eighth Circuit 6.18.1341(West 1994)), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 2289 (1995).”

I would like to quote the web site for clarity.

https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual-941-18-usc-1343-elements-wire-fraud

Let us discuss wire fraud at length with various elements associated with it.

As stated earlier, with the lineage running since 1872, modern technology in crime merged mail and wire fraud with modern technological developments like email, text message, telephone call, the internet, television communication, and radio advertisements/communication.

Example No. 1: 

Chris Evan prints postcards or letters eulogizing the exemplary work done by a Non-profit organization and requests you to send money to an account maintained with a particular bank or send a check drawn in favor of the non-profit organization. Yes, the pictures touch your heart with the noblest jobs done by them. Yes, many do in India with the floods or any calamity. Still worse, some poor child is always shown to be protected. Yes, mail fraud has been conducted.

Example No. 2:

Kate Bursar goes a step ahead with the creation of a web page with beautiful pictures with the best work done for poor peasants in a village and requests to pay through pay pal in the U.S.A. or through any popular electronic means in India. So, heart-wrenching, your hands and purse strings oblige the crook and get the curses removed from your body. This has happened to millions of us. Yes, the other person commits wire fraud.

Let me explain many other types of wire frauds with the onslaught of technology.

Methods used for online wire fraud

Fraudsters nowadays specialize in getting personal emails, passwords, bank details, or pan cards to amass your wealth.

Malware: It stands for ‘malicious software’, mainly designed to gain access, damage, or disrupt a computer or computer system without the knowledge of the computer owner or company. Not a single day passes without foreign spy people or agencies reportedly breaking over any of Western networks or Indian web sites including powerful government/private companies to gain useful information.

Many times, you may be careful when the message crops in to propel you to download some programs to help you.  Nowadays Chinese prefer to wreck the nations with their mighty Malware.

Phishing:

If not a million times, at least 100 times someone or other requests you humbly to look at their most beautiful web sites or their organizations that do wonders for the society. This does not exclude what’s up which wants to teach you something from the West since we are totally ignorant of everything. COVID-19 gave opportunity for everyone to invade my privacy and steal my personal information. Natural disasters, sisters missing the brothers, fathers lost in transit in London or anywhere requesting you to send some money to an account mentioned in the webmail is the norm than the exception. Yahoo mail used to be broached by invaders from Kenya or Nigeria and send emails in the names of your own kith and kin and solicit funds. This is wire fraud.

If you have suffered this loss or your bank accounts have been looted abroad by someone, you may contact the police, bank authorities or even complain to the Federal Bureau of Investigation whose address is given below.

https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/internet-fraud

For information on internet frauds, the above website helps but to lodge a complaint, the following one will help.

https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

What are the other types of wire frauds one comes across in the internet, the most popular medium of interaction among us?

Since none of us do read or ever bother to look into the FBI web site, let me incorporate directly their advice for your knowledge. Please read them if you intend to visit abroad or read leisurely to understand the latest techniques of frauds prevalent around the globe, India not being excluded. (Intentionally, I have not meddled with their information. Please read them many times)

  • Business E-Mail Compromise (BEC): A sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and companies that regularly perform wire transfer payments. The scam is carried out by compromising legitimate business e-mail accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to conduct unauthorized transfers of funds.
  • Data Breach: A leak or spill of data that is released from a secure location to an untrusted environment. Data breaches can occur at the personal and corporate levels and involve sensitive, protected, or confidential information that is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen, or used by an individual unauthorized to do so.
  • Denial of Service: An interruption of an authorized user’s access to any system or network, typically one caused with malicious intent.
  • E-Mail Account Compromise (EAC): Similar to BEC, this scam targets the general public and professionals associated with, but not limited to, financial and lending institutions, real estate companies, and law firms. Perpetrators of EAC use compromised e-mails to request payments to fraudulent locations.
  • Phishing/Spoofing: Both terms deal with forged or faked electronic documents. Spoofing generally refers to the dissemination of e-mail which is forged to appear as though it was sent by someone other than the actual source. Phishing, also referred to as vishing, smishing, or pharming, is often used in conjunction with a spoofed e-mail
  • Ransomware: A form of malware targeting both human and technical weaknesses in organizations and individual networks in an effort to deny the availability of critical data and/or systems. Ransomware is frequently delivered through spear-phishing emails to end-users, resulting in the rapid encryption of sensitive files on a corporate network.
  •  When the victim organization determines they are no longer able to access their data, the cyber perpetrator demands the payment of a ransom, typically in virtual currency such as Bitcoin, at which time the actor will purportedly provide an avenue to the victim to regain access to their data.”

Punishments for wire fraud in U.S.A

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Wire fraud is a federal crime. Since November 1, 1987, federal judges have used the Federal Sentencing Guidelines (The Guidelines) to determine the sentence of a guilty defendant.

To determine the sentence a judge will look at the “base offense level” and then adjust the sentence (usually increase it) based on the specific characteristics of the crime.

With all fraud offenses, the base offense level is six. Other factors that will then influence that number include the dollar amount stolen, how much planning went into the crime and the victims that were targeted.

I have read sentences running from 45 months to 30 years depending upon the severity of the crimes committed and also the population affected. The exact period is available in the Department of Justice web sites.

What to do in case of following situations abroad or in India which follows separately?

Abroad

Any organization like the FBI or a similar one in other countries try to educate one about all types of wire/mail frauds. Just do not expose your information like bank accounts, passwords, or any information like passport details, in case of U.S.A., Social security number, or do not to talk to anyone about your tax refund over the phone and in case of the Internal Revenue Service which never gives you a ring without your permission. I.R.S. is part of the Federal government of the U.S.A. the most powerful income tax wing, popular with taxpayers around the globe. Nearly 300 million taxpayers use their services.

In the case of American banks, they do have policies to reimburse your loss immediately on the basis of certain formalities being completed by the account holder or other stakeholders of their organization. It may include police complaints.

Please do not discuss with all friends your loss of money, privacy, or data with relatives who are equally ignorant like you, unless they had suffered like you.

Immediate action saves situations rather than worrying about your office.

I have given FBI details for getting educated and follow your complaint, or lodge them at point of need.

Well, in case of a huge loss, any lawyer can help you but verify their credentials before you engage them.

India

Indian banks have delegated fraud matters to their 1 800 numbers and do not bother to answer the complaints but recent actions on them by courts have rectified the situation. I have heard stories of harassment to individual account holders by both nationalized and non- nationalized ones.

Please lodge official complaints, receive your receipts, and Ombudsman, an official system does help.

Please keep the records of written communications handy for initiating action in RBI, and your political representatives, if necessary.

Please write as many letters as possible since banks do not bother to reply in many cases.

Constant follow up has helped many account holders.

Please insure your items in bank lockers since bankers wash off their hands due to binding clauses in their account opening forms which normally one does not read.

Insurance frauds, fixed deposit frauds, or any types of multi-fold increase in income by anyone including your own kith and kin need constant study and careful investment. Please avoid them.

Please lodge police complaints in all cases as far as possible to have an upper hand.

Conclusion

I see every day the mention of the words wire fraud, mail frauds, or any other types of frauds abroad or in India which pains me. I decided to mention the matter from the year 1872 onwards when the United States of America started noticing the said frauds.

Indian ones are recent ones during the last 3 decades and even most of our police stations have not yet been equipped to handle internet crimes though control centers have been set up in all states.

My intention is to give some information which will be useful for anyone to act in case of emergency, or to know to avoid fraud in various situations.

*****

Disclaimer: The above information collected from valid internet sites is my way of looking at frauds. No one is responsible for my views. Neither taxguru.in nor any government authority in any country is responsible. Please contact proper authorities for action. Definitely, these are not legal views or legal consultation.

Tags:

Author Bio

Qualification: Post Graduate
Company: subramanian natarajan cpa firm
Location: NEW DELHI, New Delhi, IN
Member Since: 09 May 2017 | Total Posts: 131
A banker with 27 years of experience, a CPA from USA with specialization in US taxation, individual, partnership, S corporation or LLC taxation etc View Full Profile

My Published Posts

More Under Finance

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Posts by Date

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031