How to Recognize Mail Fraud

July 14th, 2021 by

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Imagine that you’ve received a letter in the mail notifying you that a long-lost relative has passed and that you have been left some cash and property. 

You continue to read through the letter and it asks that you need to send your personal information back to them so that they can confirm your identity and begin transferring the property into your name. 

What do you do?

Before sending out your personal information, you may want to do some background checking to make sure that you are not falling into a mail fraud scam. 

Related: Is Someone You Know a Victim of Financial Exploitation?

Here are some signs, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

What does mail fraud look like?

Although scams practically change every day, there is a common warning trend that can tip you off that what you have is a possible case of mail fraud. 

Usually, the letter is requesting you to send your personal information and/or money to receive something of value later. 

Some mail that you may receive that is considered high risk are Notices of Sweepstake winnings, vacations, or other winnings.

You may also receive letters asking for personal information or money from people you do not know. 

Related: Learn About Common Financial Scams

Beware of offers of credit cards that will guarantee you a credit card with no credit checks, or give you a cash advance or loan with no credit checks. This type of fraud is known as Financial Mail Fraud. 

Letters from religious figures or psychics who offer to predict or change your future are also common forms of mail fraud.

What can you do to protect yourself from being a victim of Mail Fraud?

Here are some ways to protect yourself from mail fraud that the United States Postal Service suggests:

  • Do not share your financial information with anyone who you do not know and don’t trust
  • Do not be pressured into giving information in order to receive something else at a later time
  • Do your homework and due diligence and check out the company or individual online or contact a consumer advocacy group such as the Better Business Bureau or your State Attorney General’s Office
  • Talk with a friend or family member to get their perspective of what they think to believe as true or a possible scam
  • Block telemarketing calls if possible
  • Always read the fine print before you take any kind of action

What should you do if you are a victim of Mail Fraud?

If you find yourself to be a victim or a potential victim of mail fraud you can file a complaint about suspicious mail online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

Although the FTC cannot resolve the individual complaints, your complaint could lead law enforcement to discover patterns of fraud and abuse that may lead to investigations.


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