The intentional deception of the general public by a group of companies, a single company or an individual is known as consumer fraud. Instances of consumer fraud have increased in the past few decades, aided largely by the growth of the Internet. The most widely recognized form of fraud is identity theft, which often involves credit card, bank, employment and phone or utilities fraud. It is estimated that in 2004, approximately 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft, resulting in approximately $5 billion in losses to consumers. Other common categories of consumer fraud include: Internet auctions, shop-at-home/catalog sales, Internet and computer services, foreign money offers, prizes/sweepstakes and lotteries, advance-fee loans and credit protection, business and work-at-home opportunities, and telephone services.
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Popular Internet Consumer Frauds
In 2005, the Internet National Fraud Information Center reported consumer losses due to Internet fraud at approximately $13 million . The thieves then receive payment and never deliver the purchased item, or deliver an item that is less valuable than the one offered, such as one that is counterfeit, refurbished or used. Since the woman has not spent any money, and is unable to see any thing wrong, she agrees to collect the packages. read more
Consumer Health Fraud Widespread
Promotions for fraudulent health products are rampant. The advertisements are for a wide variety of products, services and devices/equipment that are sold in stores, on the Internet and through mail-order catalogs. The FDA regulates safety, manufacturing and product labeling, including claims in labeling, such as package inserts and accompanying literature.