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FTC survey shows 25.6 million Americans fell victim to fraud in 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission released on April 19, 2013 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.

cover of fraud survey report“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.  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.  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 FTC offers more information for consumers in 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud,   Avoiding Online Scams and Common Online Scams.

 



3 Comments on "FTC survey shows 25.6 million Americans fell victim to fraud in 2011"

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  1. betsybugs says:

    And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Is psychopathy increasing or is it just more acceptable in our society now?



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  2. Betsybugs- I hope psychopathy only seems to be increasing. We have more understanding of the disorder today, so we can see more cases.

    But that may be wishful thinking. Our society is so focused on material goods, getting ahead, personality cults, and winning – well, these are all the things that psychopaths want and are good at. So society seems to be sending a message of approval to the psychopathic agenda.



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  3. dorothy2 says:

    Donna, I’m SO curious and suspicious about the growing numbers. I have a gut feeling that drug and alcohol affected baby brains are contributing to the epidemic. Also foods, chemical toxins, etc.
    Yet then, looking back on history, there have always been sociopaths and psychopaths so, the things that could be contributing today weren’t around back then but the numbers werent as high then either.
    idk…..I know that the same parts of the brains that have been shown to be different in Spaths are the same parts of the brains that are affected by drugs and alcohol exposure in utero. there is definitely an overlap here.



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