Consumer Payment Card News

Card Scams

Nearly ten million Americans were victims of three types of credit card-related fraud last year. The FTC last week reported that advance-fee loan scams, mostly credit cards, claimed 4.55 million victims last year. Credit card insurance scams claimed 3.35 million victims, and credit repair scams suckered 2 million victims. The annual FTC survey found that American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans, and Hispanics were more likely to be victims of fraud than non-Hispanic whites. The FTC research reveals that 33% of fraud victims first learned about a fraudulent offer or product from print advertising in newspapers, magazines, direct mail, catalogs, or posters. Telemarketing was the first source of contact in 17% of the frauds. Only 14% of fraudulent offers were promoted using Internet and e-mail; television or radio advertising account for only 10.6% of fraudulent offers.

The FTC has publications to help consumers spot and avoid scams. They include: Just When You Thought It Was Safe … Advance-Fee Loan “Sharks” Alert, Credit Card Loss Protection Offers: They’re the Real Steal, and, Credit Repair: Self-Help May Be Best. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at “http://www.ftc.gov”:http://www.ftc.gov.

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|_2. TOP TEN FRAUDS 2003 |
|_. SCAM | #VICTIMS |
|_. 1. Advance-fee loan scams| 4.55 million |
|_. 2. Buyers clubs | 4.05 million |
|_. 3. Credit card insurance | 3.35 million |
|_. 4. Credit repair | 2.00 million |
|_. 5. Prize promotions | 1.80 million |
|_. 6. Internet services | 1.75 million |
|_. 7. Pyramid schemes | 1.55 million |
|_. 8. Information services | 0.80 million |
|_. 9. Government job offers | 0.65 million |
|_. 10. Business opportunities| 0.45 million |
|_2. Source: FTC |

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