A new report from the Federal Trade Commission says that every year, millions of Americans are victims of fraud. The FTC surveyed 2,500 people at random last spring, asking them if they have ever been victims of consumer fraud. Researchers used the information to extrapolate findings for the broad adult population.
As NPR's Jack Speer reports, the results were disturbing. They showed that consumer fraud is pervasive, with nearly 25 million adults — more than 11 percent of the adult population — were victims of one or more consumer frauds during the year studied. The most common frauds: paying money to someone prior to receiving a loan or a credit card; buying unnecessary credit card insurance; or paying for a product or service never received.
The 10 most common frauds identified by the report:
Advance-fee loan scams: 4.55 million victims
Buyers clubs: 4.05 million victims
Credit card insurance: 3.35 million victims
Credit repair: 2 million victims
Prize promotions: 1.8 million victims
Internet services: 1.75 million victims
Pyramid schemes: 1.55 million victims
Information services: .8 million victims
Government job offers: .65 million victims
Business opportunities: .45 million victims