Mail fraud is a significant problem in the United States that takes advantage of the vulnerable. Mail fraud is any kind of fraud that uses the U.S. Mail, whether that fraud starts over the phone, through mail or online.
There are several kinds of mail fraud that the government watches for, including:
- Sweepstakes and lottery fraud
- Fraud against veterans
- Employment fraud
- Financial fraud
- Telemarketing fraud
- Fraudulent inheritance notifications
- Fraud involving free services
It’s important that you make sure to fulfill your obligations any time you complete a transaction involving the U.S. mail.
How could you be falsely accused of mail fraud?
There are a few ways that you could be falsely accused of mail fraud. For instance, you might send a letter to someone asking them to pay for an item they’d like to purchase from you. If they pay and you never send it, you could be accused of using the U.S. mail to commit fraud.
Similarly, if you offer to help someone make money from home if they mail you $150 to get started and then don’t follow through on what you said you’d do, you could be accused of mail fraud.
Of course, not all interactions asking for payments by mail are fraudulent. For example, if you ask someone to pay $150 for supplies to get started with a work-from-home job and you do send them an informational book and supplies, then they have paid for a service or asset. Failing to succeed at the job may not constitute fraud, so long as you did everything you promised.
Mail fraud is so prevalent and comes in so many forms that it can be hard to pin down a single definition or example. This is somewhat problematic, because it means that any involvement of the U.S. Mail in an alleged fraud cause could lead to mail fraud charges, even if the U.S. Mail wasn’t the main way you communicated with others. Since mail fraud charges involve a federal service, it’s important that you do take a stand and defend yourself if you’re accused of mail fraud, because the penalties can be severe. Mail fraud can involve the smallest of matters, or if large sums of money are involved, it can be a crime triggering exposure to substantial prison time.