Victim of Fraud

Financial fraud is real and it can be devastating. But victims are often reluctant to admit it, sometimes even engaging in self-blame for the reckless and greedy wrongdoing of others.

The reality is scammers have become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics and utilization of technologies. Fraud happens in spite of an increasing number of preventative efforts by regulators, authorities and consumers.

Miami fraud victim attorneys at Jacobs Keeley know victims of fraud not only face difficulty throughout the criminal proceedings, but also in coping with creditors, banks and business stability in the wake of the financial fallout of these crimes. You may also fear your voice isn’t being heard by state or federal authorities and prosecutors. We can help.

Some of the consequences to financial fraud victims are:

  • Compromised identity
  • Damaged credit
  • Major financial loss
  • Emotional turmoil

Whether you are a victim of identity theft, pension and trust fund fraud, mail fraud or a pyramid (Ponzi) scheme, we work diligently to help you put the pieces back together. We can help you manage all paperwork relating to the crime, including:

  • Cash receipts
  • Canceled checks
  • Letters of solicitation
  • Bank statements
  • Money order receipts
  • Investment statements
  • Medical statements
  • Prospectuses

Not only will these documents serve to bolster the testimony you provide in court, it will also be necessary for determining the amount of restitution to which you are entitled for your losses. These records will also likely be highly relevant should you choose to pursue civil litigation against the fraudster and/or the company or agency involved.

Financial Fraud at a Glance

Although forms and tactics vary, the goal of every fraud is to enrich scammers through deception of victims. Sometimes it involves the misrepresentation of financial investments, personal assets or products.

In working to separate victims from their money, those who perpetuate financial fraud work to either gain a victim’s trust, use false information to induce victims to invest, or steal personal information. This explains why victims of fraud often feel such a deep, personal sense of violation, even though at its core, fraud is simply a form of theft.

Victims should know they are not alone. According to the Financial Fraud Research Center, between 12.5 and 15 percent of the population are self-reported victims of financial fraud. A separate survey by the Federal Trade Commission estimated nearly 50 million incidents of financial fraud in the U.S. in a single year.

These figures are almost certainly low-ball estimates because, officials note, victims are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or shame, don’t know where to turn, feel intimidated by perpetrators, lack confidence in the authorities or fear their report could result in a family or friend being arrested.

Our attorneys can help explain to victims the possible outcomes of pursuing each avenue. We can also work to help you initiate fraud alerts (requesting potential creditors verify your identity before extending more credit in your name), request a fraud report (which can help you block information damaging to your credit), and demand a credit freeze (which locks access to your credit file).

We can also help you determine whether it will be worthwhile to pursue civil action to recover damages against the offender.

Variations of Financial Fraud

Primary types of financial fraud include: Identity theft, investment fraud, mortgage and lending fraud and mass marketing fraud.

Common types of identity theft include:

  • Credit card skimming, or stealing credit card numbers in the course of a legitimate transaction.
  • Dumpster diving, or digging through a person’s trash or mailbox to find personal information.
  • Hacking, or a breach of electronic devices such as personal computers, bank databases and online retailer information to heist sensitive information.
  • Theft of purse or wallet, in search of someone’s personal checks, credit or debit cards or driver’s license.
  • Phishing, or using email spam or phone calls to pose as a legitimate company or group to lure victims into turning over confidential information.

Investment fraud can include:

  • Ponzi scheme, which is when a person lures investors and then uses that money to pay “returns” in the early stages, rather than using the funds to manage or invest as promised.
  • “Pump-and-dump” scam, when an individual buys up shares of a bottom-of-the-barrel stock and then spreads false hype about the stock (the pump), drives up demand and then sells at the height of that demand (the dump). This leaves many investors with worthless stock.

Examples of mortgage and lending fraud include:

  • Reverse mortgage scam, which are aggressively-marketed to retirees as a way to improve their financial situation, it often does anything but, depleting savings with high fees and services sometimes never delivered.
  • Mortgage rescue and loan modification scam, a type of advance-fee scam in which homeowners are offered a chance to lower mortgage payments or save their home from foreclosure in exchange for a monthly fee. However, many homeowners never get the promised relief, are out thousands of dollars and still lose their home.
  • Loan origination fraud, in which a loan is obtained using false information, such as inflating the buyer’s income or employment status.

Mass marketing fraud is often associated with:

  • “Work-from-home” business scams, which posit that for a “small fee,” individuals can learn how to work from home or buy into a franchise. However, after the fee is paid, victims learn the opportunity never existed.
  • Phony check scams, in which a check is sent by mail with a letter informing target he or she won the lottery (or is otherwise owed money), but must pay a processing fee. Once the fee is paid, the victim finds out they haven’t actually won anything.

If you have been a victim of financial fraud, trust our experienced financial crime victim lawyers to help you recover.

Contact the Miami Victim Advocate Attorneys at Jacobs Keeley Trial Lawyers for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

Call us at (305) 358-7991.

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