what it is
Consumer Fraud is the deceptive practice of defrauding consumers of various products and services which do not perform as advertised, or overcharging and levying hidden fees through deceptive business practices. These practices result in financial or other losses for consumers, sometimes wiping out entire retirement or savings accounts. While there are many types of consumer fraud, some of the common types are discussed below.
Common Types of Consumer Fraud
Weight Loss Products: Millions of people each year fall victim to products that just don't work. What's worse, most of these individuals fall prey to these fraudulent products more than once.
Unauthorized Billing of Telephone or Internet Services: "Cramming" is the practice of placing unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges on your telephone bill. Crammers rely on confusing telephone bills in an attempt to trick consumers into paying for services they did not authorize or receive, or that cost more than the consumer was led to believe. Internet complaints frequently involve websites illegally charging consumer credit cards, online "phishing" in attempts to acquire your personal information, and numerous other "promotions" or "free gift" scams.
Multi-Level Marketing/Pyramid Schemes: Pyramid schemes are scams dressed up as legitimate businesses in which members make a profit by recruiting other members. There are many types of pyramid schemes, none of which are sustainable business models.
Buyers' Clubs: Unauthorized billing from buyers' clubs was the third most common fraud in the United States in 2008, often taking the form of credit card charges for buyers' club memberships that consumers never renewed, and sometimes never joined in the first place.