What is Consumer Fraud? 

 September 18, 2013

By  LMW Attorneys

Millions of Americans fall victim to consumer fraud every year. Consumer fraud encompasses a wide-variety of deliberately deceptive and harmful business tactics that result in financial loss, which can easily damage a consumer’s credit rating.

While elderly consumers and those experiencing financial difficulties are prime targets for fraud, no individual or industry is ever immune. Examples of consumer fraud are identity theft, phishing scams, pyramid schemes, false charities, predatory lending and harassment from debt collectors.

More than 40% of all fraud claims involve some form of identity theft, in which a thief uses a consumer’s personal information, such as a bank account, social security number or credit card numbers, to open fraudulent accounts for illegal purposes.

Phishing is a common form of identity theft. Thieves solicit personal information when consumers respond to seemingly legitimate E-mails or webpages. Predatory lending and many work-from-home scams target consumers who are struggling financially.

These claims are usually outright false. In the case of loan scams, they con artist charges an upfront fee with no guarantee of lending or tack on exorbitant interest charges that make it nearly impossible to pay off the loan.

While some debt consolidation and collection agencies are completely legitimate, many such companies use predatory, dishonest and unethical business practices to lure consumers into paying more than they owe. Some scams even trick people into paying off a debt that don’t even have.

Florida’s Deceptive Practice and Unfair Trade Practice Act were created to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices.

Personal injury attorneys can help victims of fraud because they understand their rights and can hold companies accountable for deceptive sales and business tactics. Personal injury attorneys can also help debtors stop unethical collection agents from using intimidation, harassment and illegal means to force consumers into paying an alleged debt.

With ever-increasing technological capabilities and confusing regulations, fraud is becoming more and more complicated. Hiring a personal injury attorney may be a victim’s best weapon in the fight against consumer fraud.