Fraud Affects 25 Million People: Recognize Anyone You Know?

The FTC is always working to know more about the types of fraud being committed and who spends money on them. Consumers provide us with useful information through periodic surveys that ask them to share the important details about their recent marketplace experiences and a bit about themselves. 

Last year, we asked people about their experiences with 17 types of fraud, and learned that nearly 11 percent of U.S. adults, or an estimated 25.6 million people, had paid for fraudulent products and services in 2011. The most-reported frauds involved weight loss products, prize promotions, unauthorized billing for buyer’s clubs or internet services, and work at home programs. 

We learned that how people get product information and choose to pay relates to the likelihood they’ve been defrauded. People who made a first time purchase by internet or telephone after getting a telemarketing call, watching a TV ad or infomercial, or opening a spam email, were three times as likely to be victims of at least one fraud as people who didn’t buy in those circumstances.

Those who’d faced a serious negative life event — such as divorce, death of a family member or close friend, serious injury or illness in the family, or job loss — in the two years prior to the survey experienced more fraud than people who hadn’t. They experienced nearly four times as much debt-related fraud, three times as many fraudulent prize promotions, and twice as much fraud in general.

Fewer than one in ten (9 percent) of non-Hispanic whites experienced at least one fraud. Among Hispanics, 13 percent experienced at least one fraud; among African Americans 17 did. People age 45-54 were more likely than others — from age 18 to 75+, to spend money on a fraudulent product or service. 

To see what everyone can do to avoid fraud, see 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud and Common Online Scams.

Blog Topic: 
Scam Alerts


was awarded a prize of free green tea weightloss pills only had to pay 2.95 for shipping. several screens below the information I was required to submit, in very fine print was the stipulation that I was automatically signing up for endless number of months of the pills for 89.95 each month. when I called and complained, I heard every excuse in the book and finally I pulled up the ad and it plainly showed a 60 day refund policy. I complied in every way and did receive a full refund of the 89.95 I was billed.

Hi Jmelton912,

Sorry to hear about the trouble you've had with this company. I encourage you to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Here is more information on how filing a complaint with the FTC can help stop unfair business practices and scams.

I just posted this comment on the CEO of Camping Worlds Facebook page. Yesterday, I was cheated by Camping World !!!! I bought a coach from your Meridian, Idaho store. A few weeks ago, I was looking at Camping Worlds Web site and your chat rep wanted my name and number to help me find something. Your salesman Dean Jones called me to come in and look at a coach they just got in. I told him that I was not interested in a V10 Triton engine because they have mechanical issues. He told me that Camping World had to make sure everything on the rig is operating and there are no issues. After looking at the coach and talking with family, I told him that I would pass. At that point, Dean, Bob, and a Manager took me into a cubicle and proceeded to tell me how trustworthy your stores are that you guys make sure there are no problems at all with the vehicle that you're a national company with a reputation that can be trusted. And Bob told me that he would have the inside of the used coached cleaned, and the roof cleaned not just sweep it off, and the outside of the unit washed down with a chemical that strips the yellow almost completely gone. After a myriad of lies apparently, I agreed to buy the coach and Dean boy wanted my credit card said it was required for the purchase and I had to give $1000 deposit in case I didn't want it after all the work that they were going to do. I also needed to give them at least 4 days to have it all done. I picked my coach up yesterday morning. NOTHING had been cleaned; they took a water hose and sprayed the outside of it off. The roof had most of the leaves off, but not all of them. Worst yet, there were 90 more miles on the rig than when I gave them my credit card and signed the paperwork for the rig. When I asked the shop guy Jason, why the rig wasn't cleaned as Bob promised, he walked me over to the store shelve and told me what chemicals I could buy to do it myself and he also gave me the name of other businesses I could pay to have it done. I went on my walk through with your people as they showed me that everything works. The awning wasn't cleaned either once they rolled it out. The guy took a paper towel and wiped a few places on it while I stood there. I asked them about the engine and they said it was all checked out and no problems that they found. After the final paperwork was signed, the coach was pulled around front for me. I sat at the driver's seat and seen there were 90 extra miles on the rig since giving my deposit. I went in and ask Bob why? He denied it, but the mileage that I seen with my own eyes was also on the contract, then Bob when to the shop and said it must just be me because no one has touched the rig (which by nothing being done as they said looked like it), I ask then did you play with the odometer than because there is 90 more miles on that rig, why? Bob gave me a gas card for $50 and said he couldn't explain it. I got back into the rig and started it and the "service engine soon" light came on and I went back inside to see Bob. He went to get some young man to tell me that he had changed the oil and didn't turn off the warning. The young man took the rig into the shop and reset the warning. I left the lot and 11 miles down the road the "service engine soon" light came on again. I pulled over and called Camping World and after 5 tries was connected with Jason. He said that I should take it to a Ford dealer to see what is wrong with it and call him on Monday. I ask Jason to tell me the truth about the 90 extra miles on the rig and the "service engine soon" light that they had been turning off more than once. I said, Jason I know you guys know what's going on because you made that young man come out and lie to me and you guys had it out several times up to 90 miles, which I suspect was trying to jerry rig it and cover up a major problem. At Jason's suggestion, I had the codes read at 2:30 p.m. (on the same day) after talking with him and called Camping World back at 3:00 p.m. (before closing), I made several attempts to talk with anyone of the people that had lied to me and gave false statements and no one was available, but your receptionist that could not help me. The codes indicate a problem with P0174 (pressure condition or MAF sensor, failed H02S21 heated oxygen sensor, ignition misfire condition, fuel injector problem, engine mechanical condition), code P0171 (pressure or MAF, oxygen sensor defective, ignition misfire-repair, fuel injector problem), codes C1230 and C 1226 that are ABS - specifically the rear brakes. Tell me what Camping World is going to do? Right now you guys are looking unethical and I am pretty sure the brake problem being safety is a legal issue for a dealership.

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