Consumer fraud happens when a business or corporation uses illegal or unethical tactics that cause harm to consumers.
This occurs more frequently than you would think, and unfortunately, millions of consumers are victims every year. According to the Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy and Research, about 49 million consumers fell victim to identity fraud in 2021.
The criminals behind these actions constantly think of ways to access your financial and personal information. Consumers will believe they are taking part in an honest and legal transaction, but they are being defrauded in reality.
The following are common examples of consumer fraud:
- False advertising- a business misrepresents an item they are selling, such as promising certain health benefits that are not factual.
- Unfair pricing- Businesses advertise goods at one price, then charge something else, or add on costs not previously disclosed.
- Sale of unsafe products- A manufacturer sells a defective product or fails to warn consumers of possible dangers.
- Identity theft- Skimming your name, bank account, or credit card information through data mining.
- Mortgage fraud- A lender/company offers loan modification and money-back guarantee. It may even advise you to stop paying, not to contact your mortgage servicer, or ask you to sign papers you don’t understand.
- Fake charities- A fake charity contacts you and pressures you to make donations via cash, wire transfer, or credit card.
- Debt collection fraud- Scammers pose as debt collectors and demand payment. The scammer will pressure you to pay your debt and may threaten you.
Consumer protection laws were created to protect and defend consumers from these types of fraudulent and deceptive practices by businesses or corporations.
The state of California created the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) that gives consumers more control over their personal information when businesses try to get ahold of it, such as:
- Consumers right to know about the personal information a company gathers about them and how it’s used and share
- Consumers right to have their personal data deleted when collected from them (with some exceptions)
At Aiman-Smith & Marcy, we believe that consumers should be aware of consumer fraud and know that there is something they can do if they are a victim of fraudulent activities. If you think you have lost money due to consumer fraud, we want to hear from you! Let our consumer fraud attorneys review your case today.