5 Ways You Could Be Committing Fraud (On Accident) : It’s common knowledge that women are less likely to commit violence offenses than men, but what types of crimes are women most likely to commit? According to over 30 years of statistics, female inmates were far more likely to have committed a financial crime, like fraud, than they were to commit any other type.
Interesting as that fact may be, it does have some relevance to our lives today. It is entirely possible to commit fraud without realizing it–and that fact alone will typically not hold up as a defense in the court of law. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep a healthy financial life, and that means avoiding fraud, even on accident.
While quarantine is hanging over our heads, now may be an excellent time to take a bit better control of your finances and ensure that all of your ducks are in a row. Here are five ways you could be committing fraud without even realizing it.
5 Ways You Could Be Committing Fraud (On Accident)
Disputing A Credit Card Purchase… You Actually Made
No one’s a perfect angel all the time, and we all have nights full of too much wine where bad online shopping decisions are made. However, just because you forgot you made the purchase isn’t a reason to dispute it, and doing so can have huge consequences if you do so without attempting to return the product or come to a compromise with the company you bought it from.
Do yourself a favor–only dispute credit card charges as an absolute last result to avoid this type of fraud.
Accepting Over payment of Unemployment Benefits
We get it–times are hard, and many of us have had to file for unemployment benefits to get us through this trying time. It’s important to make sure that you have everything correct when you are filing the paperwork for unemployment, as lying on this type of paperwork can lead to huge legal consequences.
For instance, if you over-report your income while filing for unemployment and accept over payment, you can be charged with unemployment fraud, which is a serious charge that can have huge consequences on your life if it is not handled correctly. Make sure you report your exact income–nothing less, nothing more–to ensure that there are no issues with this type of fraud.
Not Reporting Changes in Income for Alimony/Child Support
If you’ve gone through a divorce and are currently accepting alimony or child support from your ex, it can be a struggle just to get your check from your ex-spouse each month. However, if your income has changed recently and you haven’t reported it to the courts, depending upon your states you may be committing a type of fraud. Always try to make sure that the courts have the most up-to-date information to help protect you from this type of charge, especially if your ex happens to be the vindictive type.
Writing A Bad Check/Making A Payment You Know Will Bounce
With the advent of online banking and banking apps on mobile devices, there’s really no reason not to know your bank account balance–it’s available at the swipe of your fingers.
But we all make mistakes, and sometimes we might allow a payment to go through that we know will bounce or write a check payment that we cannot fulfill, then cross our fingers that it gets taken out at the right moment. With the way that banking works nowadays, it can be anybody’s guess which order money will be taken out in, and this can lead to confusion that spurs on writing bad checks or making bad payments.
While rare, it is possible if this happens that you could be charged with writing a bad check. This is a very serious crime, so try to keep track of your finances and give yourself a buffer for big payments if you are able to.
Not Reporting Auto Changes to Your Insurance Company
As the pandemic shuts down many countries across the world, many of us are driving less and less and using our cars only for essential trips and nothing more. This is making big changes to the auto insurance industry, which is offering huge kickbacks to customers in the wake of COVID-19.
As these changes happen, it’s important to stay up to date with your auto insurance provider about how you use your vehicle. Now would be a good time to report changes to your insurance company–especially since there are penalties for not doing so in a timely manner, and it can be considered fraud if you do not report certain changes, even if it was just a simple oversight.
Be On Your Toes With Your Finances
If you’ve committed fraud without realizing–don’t panic! Chances are, unless there was real and malicious intent behind the action, you probably won’t be charged with a crime due to your negligence.
It is important, however, to ensure that you make good on your fraudulent actions and correct mistakes immediately to avoid any issues in the future. Waiting to correct a fraudulent action can lead to criminal charges, which will require many hundreds of dollars in attorney and court fees. If this happens to you, it’s vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer who will help you to figure everything out.