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Consumers in Life and Money Trouble More Likely to be Scammed

Consumers who were more willing to take risks and those who had recently experienced a negative life event (such as a divorce, death of a family member or close friend, serious injury or illness in their family, or the loss of a job) were much more likely to have been victims of fraud and scams.

Consumers who indicated they had more debt than they could handle were significantly more likely to have been fraud victims than those who were more comfortable with the amount of debt they had.

The Federal Trade Commission today released a statistical survey of fraud in the United States during 2011, which showed that an estimated 25.6 million adults – 10.8 percent of the adult population – were fraud victims.

Consumers in Life and Money Trouble More Likely to be Scammed“The FTC fights fraud every day by taking scammers to court and telling consumers how to avoid being scammed. Studieslike this one help us fine-tune both our enforcement and education efforts,” said Charles Harwood, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

While fast-growing online commerce has benefitted consumers with greater choice and convenience, the survey indicates that, as of 2011, the Internet was also the place where consumers most often learned about fraudulent offers. The Internet category, which included email, social media, auction sites and classified ads, was followed by print advertising, and TV and radio. Most consumers bought fraudulent items via the Internet; telephone purchases ranked second.

The survey asked consumers about 15 specific categories of fraud, and two general categories, and of the specific categories the top 10 were:

  • Weight-loss Products (5.1 million estimated)
  • Prize Promotions (2.4 million est.)
  • Unauthorized Billing for Buyers’ Club Memberships (1.9 million est.)
  • Unauthorized Billing for Internet Services (1.9 million est.)
  • Work-at-Home Programs (1.8 million est.)
  • Credit Repair Scams (1.7 million est.)
  • Debt Relief (1.5 million est.)
  • Credit Card Insurance (1.3 million est.)
  • Business Opportunities (1.1 million est.)
  • Mortgage Relief Scams (800,000 est.)

An estimated 17.3 percent of African Americans and 13.4 percent of Hispanics were victims; the rate for non- Hispanic whites was 9 percent. The survey found that high school graduates were the least likely to have been fraud victims; those who did not complete high school were the most likely to have been victims. – Source

Consumers in Life and Money Trouble More Likely to be Scammed
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • http://twitter.com/toomuchdebt Ira Smith

    Fascinating statistics. When you are anxiety ridden or depressed over financial problems, that is the wrong time to make any serious decisions. Rather, you should reach out to those you trust, who have nothing to gain from you, in order to get a referral to a bankruptcy attorney who can review your situation and provide you with the most appropriate options for a solution to your problem.

    What is most interesting is if you group Credit Repair Scams, Debt Relief and Mortgage Relief Scams, all of those which could be categorized as Debt Relief, that totals 4 million people scammed, second only to weight loss products.

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