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How to spot a fraud during the holidays. What is Fraud? Proving it is tough

Updated on December 10, 2012

You are in the fog, call 911

Check you brain.
Check you brain. | Source

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.

First it is hard to spot fraud and then it is hard to prosecute and prove. Best to avoid it completely.
First it is hard to spot fraud and then it is hard to prosecute and prove. Best to avoid it completely. | Source

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.

Rubbing his belly will make you rich and it only costs one dollar. Probably not fraud. Just a sales pitch that you are not really supposed to rely on.
Rubbing his belly will make you rich and it only costs one dollar. Probably not fraud. Just a sales pitch that you are not really supposed to rely on. | Source

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

Selling trinkets and books outside of the church may seem a bit gawdy but not fraud. The Preacher who just took your money in offering and does not believe what he told you and is buying a prostitute with your money -- fraud.
Selling trinkets and books outside of the church may seem a bit gawdy but not fraud. The Preacher who just took your money in offering and does not believe what he told you and is buying a prostitute with your money -- fraud. | Source

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.

Have you been defrauded already?


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    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 4 years ago from Close to Heaven

      Great informative article Eric. Well done.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      It really is not legal mumbo jumbo. Thanks for the read and comment.

      I think we nee to stand up to commit the act of citizen.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Eric... we are all victims of one thing or another. I see false advertising all he time that is why I stick with trustworthy products and peope I have come to know and love...

      Hugs and blessings from Canada

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My wife says I am a bad one to talk,, I still just get happy for anything I get. Perhaps that is because I do not need anything. But it makes me mad people treat other people so shabbily. Thanks for the read and comment.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Great hub. We were victims of fraud from people who used God into fooling us that they were sincere. They promised to help us have a better home. They lied, and cheated us. They claimed to be church people. They hurt us a lot. They were scum. Now I know so. Someday they will be spending time in jail. God Bless You.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I am sorry for your troubles. In Christ I carry the word in front of me at all times. If I combine with business I put be in front of it. In my small business all my clients are devout. I for sure did not know that for at least a year. Heart and spirit strings, should be sacrosanct but they are not.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      You are nothing more than a corrupt, Christian politician!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Do you mind explaining that newenglandsun? I can see I may be corrupt, and calling me a Christian is accurate. And I express views on political matters and have family in high political position -- but I do not think I am a politician.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Being engaged in political matters is enough for me. Out of curiosity, are any of your family members holding high political position responsible for attempting to forbid bands like these?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-DRmeheJ-U

      And are they in conflict with bands like these?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dM6F_RID5UI

      And do they try to forbid evolution from being taught in schools? These make politicians corrupt.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      How interesting those examples are. I suppose they are well done for that genre.

      I believe like most we want science taught in schools. Theories are good for developing cognitive skills.

      Now what is this conversation doing on this hub?

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Which hub would you rather this conversation done on?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTlerMKvBEs

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