According to an FTC study, almost 11% of the adult population in the US fell victim to one fraudulent scheme or another during 2011, and the leading venue to attract victims was the internet. And newspapers were second.
TV and radio were also used for fraudulent purposes but ranked behind the other two media, said the FTC, when tallying the places where consumers learned of the offer.
The internet was also the leading medium used to order fraudulent goods or services, followed by the telephone.
The leading categories included:
* Weight-loss Products (5.1 million estimated)
* Prize Promotions (2.4 million est.)
* Unauthorized Billing for Buyers’ Club Memberships (1.9 million est.)
* Unauthorized Billing for Internet Services (1.9 million est.)
* Work-at-Home Programs (1.8 million est.)
* Credit Repair Scams (1.7 million est.)
* Debt Relief (1.5 million est.)
* Credit Card Insurance (1.3 million est.)
* Business Opportunities (1.1 million est.)
* Mortgage Relief Scams (800,000 est.)
The most at-risk consumers fell into three general groups: the less educated; the biggest risk-takers; and those who had recently suffered a major life-changing event such as divorce, the death of a friend or family member, illness or job loss.