What are the Societal Impacts of Fraud?

One of the most expensive crimes endured by millions of U.S. consumers every year is fraud.  These days, it's hard to escape as scams will find you anywhere - on internet, at the car dealership and certainly in the streets.  Collectively, criminals who commit fraud have no personal preference.  They look to victimize the youth, senior citizens, home computers and large corporations alike.  It is crucial to understand why even you can be negatively impacted by this rapid moving crime wave. 

Common Types of Fraud

Scam artists will employ a wide variety of techniques, programs and devices to commit fraud.  For this reason, it is very important to remain aware of the probability and keep your confidential information safe. 

Some of the most common types of fraud involve:

     automobile insurance

     homeowners' insurance

     medical insurance

     the welfare system

     government contracts

     used cars

     prize drawings

     social engineering

Lasting Impact of Fraud

It is often stated that many of these crimes such as insurance and welfare fraud have no direct victims.  In truth, the "victimless" approach is the wrong way to view the situation.  Fraud has a negative effect on everyone.  Here are few consequences we all endure:

     economic decline due to direct physical damage

     economic decline due to losses suffered by publicly used services such as transportation, police and fire departments

     indirect economic losses endured by prominent corporations due to losses suffered by their clients

     physical injury or death to innocent victims caught in the middle of a scam gone wrong

     emotional and psychological burdens placed on the fraud victims

Psychological unrest among victims

The emotional effects fraud can have on a victim are perhaps the most troubling.  In comparison to victims of violent crimes, they're susceptible to many stress-related complications and psychological problems.  When fraud evolves into an even more damaging crime such as identity theft, many victims find it difficult to recover from the financial loss.  If they were baited into a scam, they may feel as if they not only lost their money, but their sense of security, self-esteem and dignity as well.  For some, this may be an ordeal that takes years to resolve. 

A fraud victim may feel lonely or embarrassed because of a change in social status.  The incident may cause marital problems and prevent someone from providing adequate support for their family.

Sadly, the social indifference behind this type of crime can be reflected on the law to some extent.  Too often, white collar crimes are thought of as low-priority and do not receive the proper attention.  The victim may be received with skepticism and contempt when attempting to report the violation.  When members of law enforcement aren't backing the claim, it becomes very difficult for a victim prove a case to the court.  Even with physical evidence, a suspect may find away to elude the system or are given a mere slap on the wrist.  Many of them resort to the liquidation of assets or file bankruptcy when ordered to pay restitution. 

By protecting yourself against fraud, you are also preserving your well being.  If you feel that you have been victimized by this crime, make a detailed log of all related events and present the case to your local authorities.  Additionally, you can take this one step further by inquiring within the U.S. Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov   Their website will provide detailed information on the latest scams and allow you to submit complaints for numerous types of fraud. 

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