What Constitutes Wire Fraud?

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    Identity Theft

    • Identity theft is a common crime that falls within the category of wire fraud. Any person who assumes the identity of another without consent from that person is conducting identity theft. Identity theft is directly associated with wire fraud when a person uses another person's identity with information obtained through electronic means. This can include computer hacking, planting viruses on computers and theft of electronic records.

    Computer Fraud

    • Computer fraud includes identity theft, but is actually a much broader classification in wire fraud. One of the most common methods for computer fraud is "phishing." Phishing scam artists masquerade as professionals from credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions with the direct intention of obtaining passwords, usernames or credit card information. For example, emails sent to credit card customers asking them to provide a username due to issues on the account are common methods of phishing.

    Online Fraud

    • Online fraud is the method of obtaining people's information through electronic theft. A common example of this fraud is the fake website. These are set up to mock a reputable site such as an online auction house, credit card company or bank. When the person visiting the fake site enters his personal information, that information is logged with a thief's computer and later used to access bank accounts, credit cards and other financial resources to wire money directly from the victim's account to the thief's.

    Computer-Based Scams

    • Computer-based scams are devised to trick people directly out of their money. Electronic correspondence is associated with this type of scam, which lures people into signing up for the scheme. An example of a computer-based scam can include online job firms that require people to sign up and pay money up-front to get a list of at-home jobs. Other examples can include messages informing an individual that she has won a lottery or foreign sweepstakes, but requires that she first wire a deposit to an offshore account to receive the winnings.

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