Wire fraud is a white-collar crime. This means it involves money and finances. It is non-violent, but that does not mean its effects are not serious. This type of fraud can cost individuals and financial institutions a lot of money. In simple terms, wire fraud is when one person gets another person to transfer money to their financial account through devious means. Understanding more clearly what it is requires knowing what must be proven in court to get a conviction.
According to the United States Department of Justice, there are three main points the government must prove to convict someone of wire fraud. It must show that the interaction involved interstate wire communications. It also must show the person accused of the fraudulent activity did so of his or her own free will and understood that he or she would be tricking the other person out of his or her money.
Wire fraud may occur in many ways. Someone could send an email asking for money for a cause or to get help, making the person receiving the email believe it is a legitimate need. It can also happen over the phone. An example is someone saying a debt is owed when it is not and convincing a person to wire money to pay for the fake debt. It can even happen when the person who is being scammed does not even take any action, such as in the case where banking information is stolen and funds are transferred out of the account into another account.
Many times information about a targeted person is gained through hacking into email accounts or other online accounts. This allows for the gathering of personal information to make the plea for funds sound more realistic. Those who may be convicted of such crimes often have a lot of personal information about the victim that aided in initiating the wire fraud.