Fraud is defined as any act, expression, omission, or concealment calculated to deceive another to his or her disadvantage. Fraud can be committed through many methods, including mail, wire, telephone, written instruments, and the Internet. State and federal statutes criminalize fraud, but not all cases rise to the level of criminality. Prosecutors have the discretion in determining which cases to pursue. Victims may also seek redress in civil court. Fraud must be proved by showing that the defendant’s actions involved five separate elements: (1) false statement of a material fact, (2) knowledge by the defendant that the statement is untrue, (3) intent by the defendant to deceive the alleged victim, (4) justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and (5) injury to the alleged victim as a result.
Below are several Web sites that provide information about various types of fraud, including tips for protecting yourself and filing formal complaints.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Federal Trade Commission
- United States Department of Justice
- The Fraud Bureau
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
- Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
- Information Systems Audit and Control Association
- Institute of Internal Auditors
- International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions
- National Fraud Information Center
- National White Collar Crime Center