Whether it’s being suckered into thinking you won a super awesome prize that requires a payment to collect it, or some aristocrat in Nigeria needs your help and money to collect on a big financial settlement, consumers were hit by a lot of scams last year. A new report lists the top 10 schemes consumers fell prey to in 2011.
Those Nigerian guys have to step it up — they were nowhere near the most reported scammers, coming in number 8 on the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center’s list of the most popular scams in 2011.
The top overall worst scams were as follows:
1. Prizes/Sweepstakes/Free Gifts: 26.98%
2. Fake Check Scams: 26.65%
3. Internet: Gen Merchandise: 24.51%
4. Phishing/Spoofing: 8.17%
5. Advance Fee Loans, Credit Arrangers: 3.09%
6. Scholarships/Grants: 1.51%
7. Friendship & Sweetheart Swindles: 1.40%
8. Nigerian Money Offers (not prizes): 1.14%
9. Family/ Friend Impostor: 1.06%
10. Internet, Auction: 0.92%
The NCL Fraud Center report also goes through helpful definitions of what constitutes each kind of scam; for example, a “Gen Merchandise” scam is when “goods purchased are either never delivered or misrepresented.”
The report also goes through the top Internet and Telemarketing scams, the methods scammers use to reach consumers, how money is transferred and lost in fraudulent transactions and a breakdown of who gets scammed by age. So those 46-55, be extra vigilant — you’re scammers’ most successful targets.
Top Scams of 2011 [NCL Fraud Center]