In April, the Federal Trade Commission published, “Consumer Fraud in the United States, 2011,” presenting findings of a survey commissioned by the agency to examine consumer experiences involving fraud.
This is the second of three columns focusing on the report.
The first column looked to the most common fraud types reported. This column focuses on how the frauds were most commonly promoted and purchased.
According to the FTC, victims were most likely to first learn of fraudulent offers over the Internet (approximately one-third of instances).
Print solicitations (direct-mail, advertisements, or flyers/posters) were the second-most common source of fraudulent information (accounting for almost 20 percent of incidents). Telemarketing accounted for about 10 percent of incidents.
In almost 40 percent of fraudulent incidents, orders for products/services were placed online. Telephone orders accounted for another 30 percent of incidents.
Mail orders accounted for about 12 percent of incidents (while orders that were placed at the sellers’ place of business were roughly 12 percent, as well).
Credit cards were the most common payment method in fraudulent transactions (56 percent).
In about 15 percent of incidents, consumers paid for a fraudulent product or service directly from their checking account. This included using the consumer’s debit card or card number, as well as cases where the consumer wrote a check.
The report is accessible at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2013/04/130419fraudsurvey.pdf.