Top 10 Consumer Frauds

An estimated 30.2 million Americans were victims of fraud last year, which is about 13.5% of the adult population, according to the just released results of the 2005 FTC Consumer Fraud Survey. (Yes, it takes them two years to get the results out the door).

10. Business Opportunities: .8 mil
9. Credit Repair Scams: 1.2 mil
8. Advance-Fee Loans: 1.7 mil
7. Unauthorized Billing – Internet Services: 1.8 mil
6. Credit Card Insurance: 2.1 mil
5. Work-at-Home Programs: 2.4 mil
4. Prize Promotions: 2.7 mil
3. Unauthorized Billing: Buyers Clubs 3.2 mil
2. Foreign Lottery Scams: 3.2 mil
1. Fraudulent Weight-Loss Products: 4.8 mil

To protect yourself, the FTC advises only dealing with reputable companies, reading the small print, resisting the urge to “act now,” protecting your personal info, never paying a dime for stuff touted as “free,” and reporting fraud at

2007 Consumer Fraud Survey (PDF) [FTC]


Edit Your Comment

  1. UpsetPanda says:

    I’ve never been able to understand how normal, rational people can be duped into losing money using one of those “work from home” schemes, or one of those “advance-fee loan” schemes. I just don’t get it. And the weight loss programs, that’s a whole other kind of stupidity.

  2. Imaginary_Friend says:

    When people are desperate, they don’t always think rationally. It is sad to see that these scams are still so successful, even in this age of plentiful information.

  3. homerjay says:

    This isn’t like one of my get rich quick schemes. This time I AM gonna get rich– and QUICK!!

  4. hinten says:

    “Seniors experience significantly less fraud [than the average person]”


  5. JessiesMind says:

    A couple of my in-laws used those payday advance places and fell into a vicious cycle of hitting up one place one week just to pay off last week’s advance and so on. One finally became so entrenched that she was considering one of the online cash advances. I attempted to talk her out of it, but I’ve no idea if she took my advice or not. I hope so.

  6. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    There needs to be a pill that causes you to lose fat and gain money at the same time!

    Hmm…. *runs off to “invent” pill*

  7. etinterrapax says:

    Wow, penis enlargement isn’t even on the list. I’d have lost my shirt on that bet.

  8. Starfury says:

    You can’t fix stupid.

  9. UpsetPanda says:

    I think people who have poor judgment can’t always get wise in time to get themselves out of trouble. Bad judgment in money leads to debt, debt leads to more bad judgment when it comes to solving a problem.

  10. peggynature says:

    1. Fraudulent Weight-Loss Products: 4.8 mil


  11. Hoss says:

    Let’s admit it — the largest scam in terms of dollars and number of people impacted must be rebates.

  12. MercuryPDX says:

    @etinterrapax: Agreed. I get more Viagra spam than Hoodia spam.

  13. BigNutty says:

    I must be tired. I kept trying to click on the FREE HOODIA advertisement to see what it was all about. It took me 5 minutes to finally figure out it was part of the article. Doh!

  14. Crazytree says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: Unfortunately there are a lot of stupid people out there with money.

    Many of them want to make it rich but they’ll never do it with their wits… so they’ll resort to “unorthodox” measures.

  15. timmus says:

    What the hell is Hoodia? Is this like a hoodie thrown in a blender with skim milk and yogurt? I guess I can’t argue with a little extra fiber.

  16. faust1200 says:

    @timmus: It is some substance that comes from a cactus that is supposed to act like a natural appetite suppressant. I actually tried it once and I believe it made me more hungry.

  17. PaulMorel says:

    “1. Fraudulent Weight-Loss Products: 4.8 mil”

    This seems to imply that there exist non-fraudulent weight loss products.

    As far as I know, excercise and diet are free.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    @faust1200: Seems to me that if you cut out the middleman, and simply ate a cactus, you wouldn’t want to eat for – I donno – several hours at least.