Consumer fraud is something that takes place when unfair or misleading business practices are used, leaving the consumer to deal with financial or personal losses. This can happen in a variety of ways; in fact, it has become easier than ever for shady enterprises to mislead the consumer as personal information is easily obtained. With the help of the internet, the right person can access all kinds of sensitive information that can be used to send victims into further debt, such as credit card information or billing addresses.
Many consumer fraud cases are aimed at people who are in need of help. People prey on those who are struggling and take advantage of their vulnerable state. This is often why senior citizens or young adults who are struggling with finances end up being targets for these kinds of scams.
Below is a look at some of the most common consumer fraud cases and what they entail. While this is not intended to be legal advice and only a general guide, you can get further assistance with these situations with the help of a consumer fraud law firm.
1. Identity Theft
Identity theft is common enough that most people have heard of it, even if they haven’t experienced it. This occurs when your personal information such as your name, social security number, or credit card information is stolen. This enables the thief to assume your identity and make purchases using your accounts. It’s even possible for aspects of your financial well-being to be affected, including your health insurance or tax refunds. These thefts are typically performed by a single individual, but sometimes, a network or organization can be at fault for crimes like these.
2. Credit or Debit Card Fraud
This happens when your credit or debit card information is stolen and used to make purchases. If this happens to you, you will see unusual charges that you did not permit showing up on your account. The best thing to do is call your bank and cancel the card immediately, then dispute any charges that you did not make. Otherwise, you might be stuck with a debt you didn’t incur.
3. Charity Frauds
Giving to charity is a wonderful thing, but it can lead to trouble if you’re not careful. Charity frauds occur when a scammer poses as an organization looking for donations. They will use phone calls, emails, and even social media to claim they are a charity in need. It’s always best to research the charity name and contact information before you give any money, just to be sure that they are legitimate.
4. Mortgage Fraud
This is one of the primary cases where scammers target people in need. This is because scammers will pretend to offer ways of getting struggling homeowners out of a tight spot. Some might say that they want to help refinance your loan. Others might say that they can supply you with a large loan to keep your home from being foreclosed upon, as long as you’re willing to make a down payment. Once again, it is always best to do research on the company and to reach out to the bank before giving up any information.
5. Debt Collection Scams
With almost 87% of families in some kind of debt, it’s no wonder that scammers use debt collection as a way to get personal information. Fraudsters often appeal to indebted individuals posing as a debt collection agency in order to glean sensitive information that will allow them to steal your identity or get money from you. If you receive a call involving a debt that you owe that seems fishy, call the banks you owe money to and find out if they have turned your case over to a debt collection company.
Consumer fraud cases come in many forms. It is always best to stay vigilant and double-check (or triple-check) all information before giving out any money or personal information. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you have been scammed, you can get consumer fraud help through Robin Hood Legal.