Mail and wire fraud hold many similarities. Because of that, some people mix them up, even though they are two separate crimes with separate sets of penalties.
What is fraud?
The Department of Justice discusses elements of wire fraud. In general, any act of fraud will involve trying to part a person from their assets, money, or access to honest services. In short, it is an act of swindling someone out of payment without actually granting them what they supposedly paid for.
Mail fraud involves the usage of the U.S. postal system to carry out fraud-related schemes. This can include things like letters, magazines, postcards and packages. If you have heard of the term “scam mail” before, it originated with mail fraud.
Wire fraud involves the usage of any electronic system in order to carry these fraud schemes out. This can include pagers, faxes, emails, telephones, instant messaging systems, message boards and more.
The prevalence of wire fraud
In today’s digital age, it is no wonder that instances of wire fraud have continued to skyrocket. On the other hand, mail fraud has actually declined. Experts believe this may happen due to the increased prices of postage with no guarantee of return on the fraud scheme.
On the other hand, it costs nothing for someone to attempt to defraud many people en masse via email or spam. Moreover, the advent of spam viruses and other tools makes it incredibly easy to target mass amounts of people all at once. This is why it has continued to rise in number over recent years.