At first glance, many cases of counterfeiting may appear as fraud and vice versa. The base definition provides a connection between the two. Fraud is making individuals believe something in order to gain an unfair advantage, while counterfeiting is the low quality production of goods similar to those with serious economic value in order to gain an advantage. They can be electronics, food, car parts, even the physical bills themselves. What makes these two separate crimes is fraud’s reliance on deception, while counterfeiting relies on duplication.
At the end of the day, even victims of fraud are left with something real. Bad checks, deceptive pricing, jobs, services and some forms of payment have real value. A retailer creating fake MSRP price tags may trick a consumer into paying more, but they’re still going home with a real, functional TV. Even a fraudulent check is still a real check which, if there were funds in the account or a non-forged signature would be cashed normally. Fraud can also enter the territory of identity and credit theft.
Make no mistake. Fraud can still leave its victims in ruin. Sales schemes and credit theft create financial devastation that they may never recover from. However the components which go into the crime hold the value which they’re presented as.
Counterfeit products have little to no value and rely completely on transactions taking place. They impersonate a well known brand and use that to sell cheap, defective products at prices comparable to those with value. This occurs the most with designer fashion products, technology, mechanical parts and general consumer goods. Unlike fraud, this leaves the victim paying a high price for something that’s ultimately worthless. In some cases, the low quality may even put them at risk for injury or death.
Cash and checks which are counterfeited also hold no real value. Fraudulent checks may have forged signatures or be linked to accounts with insufficient funds, but they are real documents printed by a bank that allow a transaction to take place. Counterfeit checks are simply meant to make a consumer believe they have been paid. When it comes time to deposit the funds, they’ll be given the troubling news. Fraud cannot impact physical currency. Only counterfeiting can replicate bills and coins to make a purchase or provide change into real money.
It’s important to remember the offenders may potentially face charges for both counterfeiting and fraud. Every case is handled on an individual basis and heavily relies on the business practices which led to the committing of a crime.