Common Fraud Schemes

The following are some of the most common scams that the FBI investigates, as well as tips to help prevent you from being victimized. Visit the Bureau’s White-Collar Crime and Cyber Crime webpages for information on more fraud schemes.

Results: 24 Items

  • Advance Fee Schemes

    An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return.

  • Business Fraud

    Tips for avoiding business fraud.

  • Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

    Tips for Avoiding Counterfeit Prescription Drugs.

  • Credit Card Fraud

    Tips for avoiding credit card fraud.

  • Fraudulent “Anti-Aging” Products

    Tips for Avoiding Fraudulent “Anti-Aging” Products.

  • Funeral and Cemetery Fraud

    Tips for Avoiding Funeral and Cemetery Fraud.

  • Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud

    The FBI is the primary investigative agency involved in the fight against health care fraud, with jurisdiction over both federal and private insurance programs.

  • Identity Theft

    Identity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act.

  • Internet Auction Fraud

    Tips for avoiding Internet auction fraud.

  • Internet Fraud

    Internet fraud is the use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them.

  • Investment Fraud

    Tips for avoiding investment fraud.

  • Letter of Credit Fraud

    Letters of credit frauds are often attempted against banks by providing false documentation to show that goods were shipped when, in fact, no goods or inferior goods were shipped.

  • Market Manipulation (“Pump and Dump”) Fraud

    This scheme—commonly referred to as a “pump and dump”—creates artificial buying pressure for a targeted security, generally a low-trading volume issuer in the over-the-counter securities market largely controlled by the fraud perpetrators.

  • Medical Equipment Fraud

    Equipment manufacturers offer “free” products to individuals. Insurers are then charged for products that were not needed and/or may not have been delivered.

  • Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud

    Nigerian letter frauds combine the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter mailed, or e-mailed, from Nigeria offers the recipient the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author—a self-proclaimed government official—is trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria.

  • Non-Delivery of Merchandise

    Tips for avoiding non-delivery of merchandise.

  • Ponzi Schemes

    “Ponzi” schemes promise high financial returns or dividends not available through traditional investments. Instead of investing the funds of victims, however, the con artist pays “dividends” to initial investors using the funds of subsequent investors.

  • Prime Bank Note Fraud

    The purpose of these frauds is generally to encourage the victim to send money to a foreign bank, where it is eventually transferred to an off-shore account in the control of the con artist. From there, the victim’s money is used for the perpetrator’s personal expenses or is laundered in an effort to make it disappear.

  • Pyramid Schemes

    As in Ponzi schemes, the money collected from newer victims of pyramid schemes is paid to earlier victims to provide a veneer of legitimacy. In pyramid schemes, however, the victims themselves are induced to recruit further victims through the payment of recruitment commissions.

  • Redemption / Strawman / Bond Fraud

    This scheme predominately uses fraudulent financial documents that appear to be legitimate. These documents are frequently referred to as “bills of exchange,” “promissory bonds,” “indemnity bonds,” “offset bonds,” “sight drafts,” or “comptrollers warrants.”

  • Reverse Mortgage Scams

    Reverse mortgage scams are engineered by unscrupulous professionals in a multitude of real estate, financial services, and related companies to steal the equity from the property of unsuspecting senior citizens or to use these seniors to unwittingly aid the fraudsters in stealing equity from a flipped property.

  • Seniors

    The FBI’s Common Fraud Schemes webpage provides tips on how you can protect yourself and your family from fraud. Senior Citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes for the following reasons.

  • Telemarketing Fraud

    When you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.

  • Telemarketing Fraud (For Seniors)

    Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and inexpensive vacations.

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