Consumer fraud is the practice of deceiving consumers causing them to suffer financial losses. Oftentimes, consumers believe they are participating in a legitimate business transaction, this may be because they were given false promises or inaccurate claims, only later to find they were misled.
There are many kinds of consumer fraud. Being aware of how others might deceive you may protect you from such actions. Here’s what you should know:
1. Identity theft
Possibly the most commonly known form of consumer fraud, identity fraud is the act of stealing someone’s personal information. A criminal may use your name, credit card info, social security number or other financial information. They then may use your information to access bank accounts, collect refunds, sign up for credit cards or loans or make fraudulent transactions.
2. Real estate fraud
Real estate agents may mislead consumers by using their specialized knowledge of the market and real estate law. A consumer may, for example, be asked to sign papers without foreknowledge of its contents or sold on a transaction, which may have included hidden fees.
3. Credit or debit card fraud
Like identity theft, credit or debit card fraud may occur when someone illegally uses someone else’s financial information. Consumers may find there were obscure transactions on their bank statements that can reveal they were stolen.
4. Debt collection fraud
Debt collectors have to follow their own set of laws when contacting people about overdue debt. As such, debt collectors who harass debtors, forge false documents and threaten or bribe consumers may be breaching their rights.
5. False advertising
In some cases, businesses fabricate information about their products or services that aren’t necessarily true, this would be an act of false advertising.
If you believe you’re the victim of consumer fraud, then you should be aware of your legal options.