Consumer fraud is a broad term that is generally defined as any false, misleading or deceptive practice or of a material fact that results in taking someone else’s money by providing an inferior or defective product or service.
Most instances of consumer fraud involve a product that has been falsely advertised as performing a function that does not deliver as promised. An example is a weight loss supplement that not only fails to cause the user to lose any weight but results in serious bodily harm.
Embezzlement or counterfeiting money or documents are forms of consumer fraud as well. If the documents that are falsified are attested to under oath or used to gain governmental benefits, the accused could be charged with a felony.
Other kinds of consumer fraud involve identity theft. Phishing tactics are used by cyber thieves who post phony ads in emails or elsewhere on the internet or entice computer users to click on links that install malicious software that will steal the user’s Social Security number, bank account numbers, and passwords to sensitive sites.
You can protect yourself from consumer fraud by using common sense and avoiding advertisements for employment opportunities that promise large sums of money for performing menial tasks. Do not open emails from people you do not know, and if you do apply online for a job, investigate the company by asking to speak to someone at the company. Never give your identifying information to anyone until you have a written contract with clearly discernible terms from a company you have researched and are sure is legitimate. To learn more about Consumer Fraud click here.