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Consumers Report: The FTC Fraud Survey

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Fraud Survey CoverThe FTC provides useful information to consumers, and consumers provide useful information right back through periodic surveys that ask them to share the important details about their recent marketplace experiences. 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. Here’s what our researchers found:

  • An estimated 5 million U.S. adults reported experiencing fraud related to weight loss claims. In these cases, although sellers said their products would help people lose a substantial amount of weight or lose weight without diet or exercise, the nonprescription drugs, dietary supplements, skin patches, creams and other products they bought didn’t work as promised.
  • About 2.4 million people spent money on a fraudulent prize promotion. They were told they’d won a prize, lottery, money, or a free vacation, but they had to spend money or attend a sales presentation to get their winnings. They followed through as they were told, but they never got the prizes they were promised.
  • Based on survey responses, an estimated 4 million U.S. adults were billed for services they hadn’t agreed to buy. About half were billed for a buyers’ club membership; the other half were billed by a company they’d never done business with — and never agreed to do business with — for  internet-related services including internet access, website hosting, or website development.
  • An estimated 1.8 million people paid for programs that made earnings claims for home-based businesses, but the work-at-home programs produced less than half the earnings promised. Because many buyers tried more than one program, work-at-home businesses accounted for an estimated 2.8 million incidents of fraud.
  • The internet was the most-reported source of promotions of fraudulent products, followed by print ads, television and radio, and telemarketing calls.

For more details on how you can avoid fraud, read 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud and Common Online Scams. For more details on people’s experiences with fraud, read the FTC Fraud Survey.


I feel like the FTC is a waste of time and money. I have had a problem which I have communicated with them numerous times. They simply tell me to keep reporting it. I recently received a form letter telling me that I needed to contact an attorney to follow up with this. They could have told me that months ago. Not satisfied at all,

That is absolutely true. We need an entire new branch of law enforcement that deals exclusively with any/all crimes that are perpetrated via the internet. There is too much anonymity on the web providing a swamp of deceit, fraud, and outright theft. Always praying upon the most vulnerable of targets: the elderly, unemployed, and anyone willing to give their information to these phantoms of greed.

I became aware, when I started a new job in 2004, that I was an identity-theft victim when I was let go after a couple of days, due to "having lied" about my credit, yet I had never even as much as missed a mortgage or utility bill payment. It has dragged down my life, as I was forced into self-employment, not making enough to consider even health insurance, as I am a cancer survivor. The police considers identity theft a civil matter and does nothing, and I can't change my SSN. I can't even stop a UPS package, because I don't know the addresses of my multiple thieves, who use their own "names," or rent a place, etc. for these long 9 years.Will this ever become a criminal matter, so I can get a real job again?

To begin dealing with the damage done by identity theft, you must create an identity theft report. Here's how to do that:

Is '' a legitimate agency to assist homeowners with loan modifications?

I signed myself and my parents up for the 5 yr. do not call list for our land lines and my cell phone. We are both still receiving lots of calls and scam calls. What can be done about it. I write down the numbers but who do I report it to and what can be done?

You can report the calls to The FTC collects these complaints and brings cases against organizations that violate the Do Not Call list.

Are there any articles like this about business practices? I think that frauds are important but i'd be interested to see how many legal "tricks of the trade" are used.

Such example would be a major satellite provider who is quick to schedule you an installation date, and once the installation is done they have their technician hand you their iphone ask you to sign for the installation. And then that signature get's replicated and signing a contract you were never even shown. Legal? who knows but i cant afford a lawyer to find out.

I'm sure the list can go on about common business practices..... I'm honestly more worried by corporate America than i am a fraudster, they will eventually be caught.

And as mentioned in another blog, at minimum there should be laws that allow disputed items to be withheld from credit reports until they are determined that the person whose credit report it is was the responsible party. I believe some if not all credit companies stop charging interest on disputed charges until they figure things out. Why should a credit report be any different?

Fraud can happen other ways too. People use their credit cards, debit cards to purchase items, then report they never ordered the items (after they receive them). This is why prices are through the roof for basic things - companies have to cover their losses somehow.

AT&T advertises its cable boxes as wireless and has several commercials running telling potential customers that they can watch tv anywhere they don't need an outlet. That is untrue. You still need an electrical outlet. You also need an outlet for the cable box. You don't need an external AT&T cable. If you don't have an electrical wall outlet your tv is stuck where there is one unless you plan on using extension cords. Shame on AT&T for using this misleading advertisement.

How do I file a complaint against people placing "bogus" postings on Craigslist???

In addition to reporting a scam to Craigslist, you can file a complaint with the FTC at

I just received a call from a scam telling me I won 1.5 MM dollars from Publishers Clearing house and they said I need to call 866-996-5997 to claim my prize using a redemption code of 313250. Please call them and bust them! Im not even gonna call.

Zack C

I received a call from a Tony Stuart that I had won Millions from the Mega Millions in New Jersey and a car and 5000 a week for life. How in heck can this happen if I never bought a ticket? He told me It was a second chance drawing from places I shopped like walgreens, menards, walmart etc. Then preceeded to tell me I needed to pay him money to receive my prize for the taxes and atty fees! ya right thats allotta bull! Who is this man anyway! He does not work for Mega millions and they do not accept money for a prize or do second chance drawings like this! SCAMMER!!!!!!

Telephone #202-580-8398-They advised me that I was selected by the government to receive a 9000.00 grant by scanning through the US citizens that haven't filed for bankruptcy and pay bills on time. They stated they need a western union processing fee of 210.00 and I will get the processing fee back with the 9000.00. They gave me an ID# SA098 and not to give it out because someone else will steal it. What a joke. 63toffee

These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments.

which appropriate body can I file an urgent fraud complaint to?

You can start by contacting your state and local consumer protection agencies.

After complaining to the BBB in New York, Vindale surveys keeps cancelling your work after 100% finished. No other site has that process

You can file a complaint with the FTC at The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also contact your state and local consumer protection agencies.

Consumer Protection does nothing. We were scammed through Craigslist on an RV purchase for $15K . I have had NO ONE willing to help. I also have some information that I believe this individual is doing this as a "job". Fixing RVs to "look" good when in fact they are severely damaged. There is NO laws that help the consumer with private sales!!!

You have the option to contact your state Attorney General’s office, local law enforcement, law enforcement in the area where the scammer is located, report the scammer to Craigslist, or talk to a private attorney. is doing false advertising on TV. They say their prices are below other prices which it isn't. In addition, they say there is no charge for shipping when that is false, unless you are ordering more than $49.00

You can file a complaint with the FTC at The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also contact your state and local consumer protection agencies.

Received a Telephone message about a breach in SS# from a robot from number 916-378-8418. Please stop these people!

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