Because methods of communication are so mobile these days, it may be hard to remember that telephones used to connect to the walls with a wire. Now, “wireless” is a common method of transmitting information, but federal authorities may still charge you with wire fraud if you use interstate communication methods as a way to carry out fraudulent acts.
Those who accuse you of wire fraud must prove that you knowingly and intentionally misrepresented the facts through telephone, computer modem, radio or television, or other interstate communications, in order to wrongfully obtain money or property from another person. The information you transmitted may have included words, pictures, symbols, sounds or signals. One common example of this is fraudulent online bank transactions, which may involve massive financial losses before anyone detects them. If you are under investigation for wire fraud, you may be facing an uncertain future.
Common methods of wire fraud
To perpetrate wire fraud, those involved must somehow obtain people’s passwords or credentials in order to gain access to their financial accounts. Investigators may suspect you of any of the following methods of obtaining that information:
- Phishing involves sending legitimate looking emails or creating seemingly authentic websites to lure people into volunteering their sensitive information.
- Fraudsters create malicious software, or malware, which attaches itself to other programs on a computer, steals data and damages the computer.
- Vishing attacks occur when a fraudster contacts bank customers by phone to falsely report a security breach at the bank so the customers will reveal account information and passwords to the caller.
- Smishing is similar to vishing except that it occurs through text messages instead of phone calls.
- Spam is unsolicited text messages or emails that may promise rewards, debt relief or special offers as a way to trick recipients into revealing personal information.
These are only a few methods of wire fraud, and if Georgia investigators suspect you of any of these, it is likely they have been investigating you for some time. They may claim to have conclusive evidence to connect you to wire fraud and other crimes that may result in prison terms up to 20 years and extensive fines for a conviction.
If you are facing these charges, even if prosecutors have not formally charged you, you would be wise to begin building a strong defense strategy with the help of an experienced and aggressive attorney.