Mail fraud occurs when a person uses the United States Postal Service (USPS) to defraud someone of property or money. Mail fraud is a federal crime. A person is guilty of mail fraud if:

  • They devise a scheme to defraud – such schemes include plans to obtain money or property by means of false pretenses
  • The person must use the United States Postal Service to mail material used for the purpose of carrying out the scheme

The initial contact can be over the phone, through e-mail, or the internet, as long as the U.S. mail is used to carry out part of the fraud.

What Is a Scheme or Artifice to Defraud?

A scheme to defraud is often characterized as a plan to obtain money or property by using false statements.

What Are Common Mail Fraud Schemes?

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service maintains a list of common mail fraud schemes and their descriptions. Some common examples include:

Where Can I Report Mail Fraud?

If you have been a victim of mail fraud, you can file a mail fraud complaint with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. They will investigate matters with a number of consumer complaints, but cannot recover any lost property or money for you.

If you have been defrauded and lost money or property as a result, you should also contact an attorney who can evaluate your claim and ability to recover.

Do I Need an Attorney to Handle a Mail Fraud Case?

If you are a victim of mail fraud, an attorney may be able to help you recover your losses.  If you are accused of mail fraud, a criminal defense attorney can be crucial in helping you navigate the complex federal legal procedures and provide you with the best legal options and defenses available.