The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a statistical survey of fraud in the United States for 2011. The survey shows an estimated 25.6 million adults, approximately 10.8% of the population, fell victim to fraud. Were you one of them?
The internet can be used as a great tool for finding the best prices on goods and comparing items and such, but it is also the place where consumers learned the most about fraudulent offers. The internet category was followed by print advertising, TV, and radio. Most consumers bought fraudulent items over the internet, with telephone purchases falling in second.
The top ten categories of fraud in 2011 were:
1. Weight Loss Products
2. Prize Promotions
3. Unauthorized Billing for Buyers Club Memberships
4. Unauthorized Billing for internet services
5. Work at Home Programs
6. Credit Repair scams
7. Debt Relief
8. Credit Card Insurance
9. Business Opportunities
10. Mortgage Relief scams
The FTC estimates that 17.3% of the victims were African Americans and 13.4% of Hispanics were victims. The rate for non- Hispanic whites was 9%. The survey found that high school graduates were least likely to be victims of fraud, while non high school graduates were more likely to be victims. Consumers who had recently experienced negative life events were more likely to be victims of fraud. Consumers who indicated they had more debt were also more likely to be victims of fraud.
In 2012, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) reported a decrease in the total number of mass marketing fraud (MMF) complaints and victims; however, the total MMF reported dollar loss has increased. This can be seen through 2011 and 2012 statistics. In 2011 the total number of MMF complaints stood at 48,061, dropping to 41,496 in 2012. However, from 2011 to 2012, the total reported dollar loss increased from $66,809, 968.06 to $76,132,679.08.