Complete Description:This survey shows that nearly 25 million adults – 11.2 percent of the adult population – were victims of fraud during the prevous year. Certain racial and ethnic minorities were much more likely to be victims of fraud then non-Hispanic whites. American Indians and Alaska Natives were the ethnic group most likely to be victims: nearly 34 percent had experienced one or more frauds in the preceding year. Seventeen percent of African Americans were victims; over 14 percent of Hispanics were victims; and over 6 percent of Non-Hispanic whites were victims. The survey of 2,500 randomly chosen consumers shows that consumers with high levels of debt were more likely to be victims of fraud. Three of the top four categories of fraud related to credit, including credit-repair scams often targeted at those carrying high debt loads or having bad credit.
The most frequently reported type of consumer fraud was advance-fee loan scams, in which consumers pay a fee for a “guaranteed” loan or credit card.The survey also revealed that 33 percent of fraud victims first learned about a fraudulent offer or product from print advertising in newspapers, magazines, direct mail, catalogs, or posters. Women and younger consumers were more likely to complain if they have been victims of fraud, the survey found. Similarly, almost 75 percent of consumers under the age of 35 complained, compared to only 55.4 percent of consumers between 55 and 64. In addition to the fraud categories, the survey found that an estimated 13.9 million consumers were victims of telephone “slamming” – unauthorized and illegal changes in long distance telephone service.