Mail fraud is a scheme to get money or anything of value from you by offering a product, service, or investment opportunity that does not live up to its claims. Prosecutors must prove the claims were intentionally misrepresented and that the mail was used to carry out the scheme.
The Postal Inspection Service investigates violations of the mail fraud law. Consumer complaints are the primary basis for investigation by Postal Inspectors.
Avoiding Mail Fraud
Be an informed consumer when you shop by mail. You can save time and money when you shop by mail. Most mail-order companies are honest and stand by their product and services.
Unfortunately, there are a few rotten apples who give direct mail advertisers a bad name. They cheat people by peddling worthless products, medical quackery, and get-rich-quick schemes. Some fly-by-nights take your money and send you nothing.
Common Mail Fraud Tactics
Mail fraud artists frequently rely on the same old tricks; you may even be familiar with some of them.
- Charity fraud
- Lottery fraud
- Medical fraud
- Phony job opportunities
- Telemarketing fraud
- Unsolicited merchandise
- Vacation getaway
- Work at home schemes