Consumer fraud is when an individual or entity employs deceptive business practices to cause a consumer to suffer personal or financial loss. The victims are consumers who genuinely believe they are participating in a legal business transaction when the reality is the business or company is attempting to defraud them.
Consumer fraud happens because individuals or entities want to find fast and easy ways to take consumers’ money. They use dishonest and deceitful methods. As a consumer, you can protect yourself by knowing what types of consumer fraud exist and recognizing when someone is trying to scam you.
Understanding how consumer fraud happens
Fraudsters may find ways to get access to your personal and financial information to steal from you. Always be careful when providing your identifying information, date of birth, social security number and credit card number, particularly to callers from unknown numbers. The world is full of people looking for ways to make a fast buck.
Today’s technology also allows small illegitimate enterprises to appear genuine and authentic. Here are ways in which a business may deceive you and other consumers:
- Selling defective products that cause a consumer to suffer injury or death
- Falsely advertising products
- Baiting customers with more expensive or higher-quality products then switching the product with an inferior one
- Misrepresenting the conditions of real estate property
- Failing to disclose the hazardous conditions of a property
- Tampering with the odometer of a vehicle
- Overbilling for professional services
- Selling counterfeit products at excessive prices
- Pressuring people to invest in shady investments and businesses
- Guaranteeing impossible returns
If an individual or business is promising you something that seems too good to be true, it’s probably because it isn’t. Sometimes, people prey on those who are desperate or in debt. Taking advantage of another’s vulnerability is not right, but it happens.
Are you a victim of consumer fraud?
Corporations and companies may infringe on the rights of their consumers using misrepresentation and deceptive advertising. You can take legal action if you have suffered losses or other damages due to consumer fraud. New York values its consumers and any violation of the state’s consumer protection laws could be a potential lawsuit.