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The crime of swindling continues to claim victims around the world, despite the historical antecedents.

One of the most serious aspects of this crime is when it is committed against a family's fundamental assets, such as homes or assets.

The scam is very oldThere are many antecedents throughout history. The most common assumption is based on deception to achieve the goal of profit. 

Despite all the cases reported in the media, technological platforms such as social networks and even in famous movies in the film industry, they continue to be repeated daily around the world.

The crime of swindling

Conceptually, swindling is a crime which consists of deceiving another person for profit, inducing him/her to carry out an act of patrimonial disposition to his/her own detriment with benefit to the victimizer or third parties. In many cases, swindlers take advantage of the inexperience and inexperience in business matters of those they manage to capture and also of the failures or weak points of the security systems of public or private institutions, the consequences of which have greater implications in commercial activities.

Some types of scams include usurping the identity of another person or even impersonating an authority or representative of an official institution, are part of the most common actions of those who operate in this type of offenses. The Venezuelan Criminal Code establishes that a fraud is committed by anyone who, by means of artifices or means capable of deceiving or surprising the good faith of another, induces him/her in error to procure for himself/herself or for another an unjust benefit to the detriment of others. The crime of swindling is punishable with imprisonment from one (1) to five (5) years according to Venezuelan legislation.

Spanish law punishes the crime of swindling with imprisonment from six (6) months to three (3) years if the amount defrauded exceeds 400 euros. The penalty is reduced from one (1) to three (3) months if the amount defrauded does not exceed 400 euros. In the European country, fraud is criminalized when a subject, with profit motive and using some computer manipulation or similar artifice, obtains a non-consensual transfer of any patrimonial asset to the detriment of another. It is also considered when computer programs are manufactured, provided or introduced for the commission of frauds and when credit or debit cards, traveler's checks or the data contained in any of them are used to carry out operations of any kind to the detriment of the holder or a third party.

It is common for frauds to be combined with computer crimes and organized crime offenses; in these cases, the actions and means of committing the crime become more complex, as is the case of the computer fraud through the use of technological tools and social networks; immigration fraud; tax identity theft; telephone fraud; personal and professional identity theft; bank fraud (overpayment, payment of bad checks, automatic withdrawal of funds), phishing); pyramid scheme scams that use funds from new recruits to pay winnings to long-time participants; government grant scams; lottery and sweepstakes scams.

How to avoid being a victim of fraud? 

From the law firm Alan Aldana Abogados & Asociados, we recommend to avoid being victims of scams, to carry out transactions and negotiations only with trustworthy people. If this is not always possible, it is essential to thoroughly check the identity of those responsible and use Internet search tools to verify their reputation. Nowadays, it is very easy to find comments from others on the Internet that can provide an overview of the reputation. If the subjects keep their identity hidden, it is not advisable to close the deal or offer personal information that can be used for the scam. These tips are also helpful:

  1. Delete any e-mail of dubious origin, of which there is no clear evidence of its origin.
  2. Do not offer personal information, bank account information or possession of goods through any electronic means.
  3. Remember that banks will never request user information, passwords or personal data through e-mail or instant messaging.
  4. Check the profiles in detail and contact information, to ensure that it is a real profile.
  5. Always use reliable browser servers.
  6. Be wary of very tempting proposals or offers.
  7. Avoid paying in advance without first receiving a guarantor.
  8. Locate contact numbers and physical location before making any transaction.

Sources consulted