Fraud Alerts

Top 10 Scams for 2009

According to the National Consumers League (NCL)
  1. Fake Check Scams. Consumers paid with phony checks for work or items sold, and instructed the consumer to wire some of the money back. The check turns up counterfeit and the consumer is out the money the wire back.

  2. Internet: General Merchandise.  Consumers purchase merchandise over the Internet only to find out that the goods never are delivered or are misrepresented.

  3. Prizes/Sweepstakes/Free Gifts. Consumers are contacted by scammers who claim they won a prize, sweepstakes or free gift. All they need to do is pay for shipping, taxes or some other item and they will receive the item.

  4. Phishing/Spoofing. Emails pretending to be from a well-known source and ask customers to enter or confirm personal information. Once they get this information they use your identity to purchase items using your account information.

  5. Nigerian Money Offers. False promises of riches if consumers pay to transfer money from scammers' bank accounts.

  6. Business Opportunities/Franchises/Distributorships.  Scammer requests money from inexperienced investors for false business propositions, business offers, or franchise operations with big profits or guaranteed earnings.

  7. Advance Fee Loans, Credit Arrangers. False promises of business or personal loans, even if credit is bad, for a fee upfront.

  8. Friendship & Sweetheart Swindles. Con artist nurtures an online relationship and convinces the victim to send money to them. 

  9. Internet Auctions. Consumer purchases items through online auction only to never receive the goods or find out the goods are misrepresented.

  10. Lotteries/Lottery Ticket Buying Clubs. Requests for payment to claim lottery winnings or get help to win. This is often with foreign lotteries.
Rank Scam % of Total Ave Loss*
1 Fake Check Scams 44.92% $3,177.68
2 Internet: General Merchandise 22.01% $1,065.80
3 Prizes/Sweepstakes/Free Gifts 8.43% $3,973.56
4 Phishing/Spoofing 7.17% $585.67
5 Nigerian Money Offers (not prizes) 2.97% $13,264.50
6 Business Opportunities/Franchises/Distributorships 2.77% $918.48
7 Advance Fee Loans, Credit Arrangers 1.60% $1,416.89
8 Friendship & Sweetheart Swindles 1.19% $8,491.94
9 Internet Auctions 1.15% $1,333.48
10 Lotteries/Lottery Ticket Buying Clubs 1.11% $7,181.14

* Average of loss in complaints where a loss was reported. Survey as of June 2009.