How to spot a fraud during the holidays. What is Fraud? Proving it is tough
You are in the fog, call 911
You think you are immune?
Many folks think that fraud is so obvious that anyone can tell. That generally is not true at all. Fraud is more often done by artists of fraud and therefore is difficult to detect and harder to prove. Fraud is a situation in which one party deceives another intentionally to get the other to act to their detriment. Technically/legally it has elements that must be present to constitute fraud.
Let us look at what fraud is not for a moment. A broken promise is not fraud. By the very nature for a promise to be broken it must have been a promise that was meant to be kept. In other words for a promise to be broken it must have been made with the intent of keeping it in the first place, and that would not be fraud. The poor drunk who promises to stop drinking “if only” you move back in with him, means it and probably very sincerely. But he just cannot keep that promise, bummer but not fraud.
Disaster that is unforeseen may cause promises not to come true. Sometimes it may be blameworthy and other times it may be just a horrible act of nature. This is not fraud.
I swore to you I had $1,000.00 in the bank, little did I know my wife left town with Joe and cleaned out the account first. That is not fraud.
It is hard to stop fraud, so it is equally hard to write laws about fraud.
Fraud is your fault. That is harsh but true.
Fraud requires a very special deviousness. Not just deviousness in the lie but a deviousness in the intention to cheat you. You see fraud does not just require that I lie to you, it has to work. You have to give up something because my lie made you reasonably rely on it.
Now that we know something about what fraud is, how do we spot it? The most obvious is the “too good to be true” tell. The thief offers up something really great and then acts like they do not care if you invest in it or buy it. It is such a great deal you cannot pass it up. My favorite is when they use the “stranger” to jump right in ahead of you to get a piece of the action. (Careful that trick works legitimately also) This concept is designed to work off of your greed. It is very seldom reported because the victim is ashamed. Something for nothing is a bad idea, somehow it always bites you back.
People must be reasonable.
Large Corporations do it. But people do not complain. Shopping junkies are low hanging fruit.
Just because a big corporation is involved does not mean it is not fraud. Bait and Switch is easy and has all kinds of variables. Big advertisements that offer merchandise for a great price are everyone’s favorite and seemingly no one ever goes after the big corps for it. Of course they are selling the Game for ¼ price, but they only have 4 of them – and over here is a knock off or lesser model for the full price. Run from that place. Most states have laws to prevent this but it is way into the fine print. Car dealers love it.
The most blatant and probably the most pervasive fraud is in huge megacorps with services. And we almost never do anything about it. We buy and pay for a plan with services attached, for instance like a phone. The problem occurs when the megacorp over sells the service and cannot handle the load. Believe me they have techies and bean counters and lawyers and knew ahead of time that they could not handle it and sold anyway – and still do. Be serious when your call does not go through 3 times, or when you are out of range when no way you are, or when they require you to log in four times that is a technical problem alright, they do not have the capacity at that moment. Same with internet carriers or even 24 hours help centers. Those annoyances are really a disruption of service on a mass scale, which they blame on something else, like your security. Guess what logging in excessively is a bigger risk.
Churches are not free of fraud
If you see or even suspect it, report it and stay on it.
The last one about service providers should help with the gardeners, plumbers and even doctors. You pay good money but now they just do not have the time and schedule your for 5 weeks from next March. Think about it, that is a fraud. If someone promises you a service that they knew they could not provide and then do not, that is fraud. They knew they could not handle the load but hooked you in any way.
I hope you see that most fraud lies in the greed of the perpetrator. But most importantly I hope you see as I do, that we are all just a bit guilty of fraud. We fool ourselves into thinking that something is what it is not. A shop keeper told me once, ”they all complain about the price until they buy it, then they brag what a great deal they got!”
The hardest thing about fraud is probably not preventing it but prosecuting it successfully. Very few crimes require proving a mindset to injure another. Proving what is in the head of someone can be tough. Add to that equation corporate lack of accountability and you have an almost insurmountable burden. But it should be done anyway.
Let me leave you with this thought. It is our job to fight against fraud. If we do not then we are mutually guilty for it happening. The mortgage foreclosure crisis could have been substantially lessened had people fought against the fraud. We know many got deals to good to be true, but in fact they were the victim.