Special Feature: Fraud Awareness

Collage of fraud imagesScam artists in the U.S. and around the world defraud millions of people each year. They use the phone, email, postal mail, and the internet to trick you into sending money or giving out personal information.

Research consistently shows that victims of fraud come from all education levels and socio-economic backgrounds. There is no single profile of a victim of financial fraud, and there is no level of intelligence that can prevent a person from being victimized. Everyone is at risk.

Overall, about one-in-ten adults — 25.6 million people — were victims of fraud in America in 2011. They were scammed by fraudulent prize promotions, weight loss products, work-at-home programs, unauthorized billing for buyers’ clubs, and more.

A single scam can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors billions of dollars. Recovering from identity theft, in particular, can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Data from the 2014 Identity Theft Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey show that the majority of identity theft victims (86%) experienced the fraudulent use of existing account information, such as credit card or bank account information. An estimated 36% of identity theft victims reported moderate to severe emotional distress as a result of the incident.

To help improve and expand services to victims, the Office for Victims of Crime created the ID Theft Toolkit for victim advocates, attorneys, law enforcement, and others involved in assisting victims. Additionally, through a redesigned IdentityTheft.gov, the Federal Trade Commission has eased the way people report identity theft and provided for quick access to recovery resources.

Held annually, National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) is a coordinated campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions. The NCPW site captures consumer information on a variety of topics and a toolkit to help promote greater awareness of NCPW in different communities.

To learn more about fraud, select a specific content area from the box to the right under the “Fraud Awareness” heading.