Real estate wire fraud remains a top cybercrime in the U.S. with a 17% increase in victims in 2020, totaling 13,638 individuals and resulting in over $213 million in losses, according to FBI data. Business Email Compromise/Email Account Compromise (BEC/EAC) was the most common type of blackmail in the sector, in which scammers impersonate real estate agents or attorneys and provide fraudulent wire instructions. BEC/EAC scams targeting real estate have increased by over 1100% from 2015 to 2017, with monetary losses rising by almost 2200%.
FBI Warns of Escalating Cyber Threats and Wire Fraud to Small Businesses
In another case, a Texas man was convicted for fraudulently obtaining and laundering millions of dollars in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans. Abdul Fatani and his co-conspirators submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications by falsifying payroll expenses and obtained over $35 million in loans. Fatani was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire scams, wire fraud, and money laundering and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy and wire fraud and 10 years for money laundering.
Wire Scams: Understanding the Federal Laws and Penalties Involved
Wire fraud is a serious federal crime that has become increasingly common in recent years, as technological advancements have made electronic communication more prevalent. This crime involves using wire, radio, or television communications to defraud another person or party. In addition to traditional white-collar crimes, wire scams can also be linked to other underlying crimes that may be subject to state laws. If you are facing charges of extortion, it is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide you with expert advice and help you secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Investigating Wire Fraud: Who Is Responsible?
The FBI is responsible for investigating cases of wire fraud. This federal agency has the resources and expertise needed to track down and prosecute those who engage in wire scams, including those who use electronic communications to defraud businesses, institutions, and individuals. Those convicted of blackmail face serious penalties, including imprisonment and fines.
Examples of Wire Fraud Schemes and Scams
Wire fraud can take many different forms, and it is important to be aware of common scams and schemes in order to protect yourself. Telemarketing fraud, internet scams, and phishing emails are just a few examples of how criminals can use wire communications to defraud unsuspecting individuals. The Nigerian prince scam, in which a fraudulent email requests personal bank account information, is a well-known example of a wire fraud scheme. It is important to be wary of any requests for personal information and to report instances of wire fraud to the appropriate authorities.
Protecting Yourself from Wire Ripoffs
To protect yourself from wire fraud, it is important to be cautious when providing personal information via electronic communications. Always verify the legitimacy of any requests for information, and do not share sensitive information unless you are certain of the recipient’s identity. Additionally, it is important to report any suspected instances of wire scams to the Federal Trade Commission. By taking these precautions, you can help protect yourself and others from falling victim to this serious crime.