Phone or Utility Fraud

Phone or Utility Fraud

Utility fraud represents the second-most commonly committed crime in the United States. The crime is relatively easy to commit: an identity thief uses the personal information of another person to open utility accounts (gas, water, electric, etc.) in that person’s name. Telecommunications accounts, such as land-line and mobile phone service, also fall within the utility fraud category. All identity thieves need is a name, address, and telephone number to commit utility fraud.

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Phone fraud includes telemarketing fraud, which refers to any kind of scheme in which a criminal communicates with a potential victim over the telephone. Since legitimate companies conduct business over the phone, it is easy for criminals to impersonate a company and obtain the credit card information or other personally identifying information from a potential victim and then use that information to make unauthorized purchases.

Cellular phone fraud involves the unauthorized use of or tampering with a cellular phone or service. The major type of cell fraud is subscriber fraud, in which one person fraudulently opens an account for cell service using information stolen from another person.