What Type Of Fraud Is Most Common In Your State?

Scott Repasky
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Imposter Scams

There are plenty of different ways for fraudsters to take advantage of innocent people. The most common type in the city you live in may be different than other parts of the country. In the majority of states, imposter scams top the list.

Imposter Scams work by fraudsters impersonating someone else and getting you to send money or give out personal information. The scammer might pose as a relative, friend, government official, or even a corporate personnel located overseas, to attempt to take advantage of you. Some imposter scams are more simple than others. A relative or friend might simply call and tell you they need money and you should send it right away. In reality, they’re working with the scammer and are just trying to get your information. Some imposter scams are more elaborate and might include the fraudster impersonating a corporate personnel or a government official, showing you a bank or tax statement or requiring you to pay some taxes owed in order to avoid facing consequences.

Debt Collection

Fraud related to debt collection experienced a 100% jump last year, according to the FTC's annual report.

If you have a debt that has been assigned to a collection agency and they're calling you on the phone, you need to find out if they have a right to contact you like that, otherwise this could be what is known as a debt collection scam.

It's important to know that, according to the FTC, if you owe money – any money – from credit cards, medical debts, utility bills, etc., it is not a violation of the FDCPA to contact you, even if you have not given consent. Your debt can be sold or transferred to a new debt collector.

What can happen however, as explained by the FTC, is that a debt collector violates state or federal collections laws. One example would be to call a consumer repeatedly and place him or her on an automatic phone dialer that calls at all hours, making it hard to work or sleep.

If this sounds like what's going on with a collection agency, you do have rights. If they are calling you and harassing you, you can contact the FTC and learn more.

Identity Theft

The FTC's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) published a study detailing fraud in the U.S. in 2014. From 2011 to 2014, the percentage of incidents increased for the four most prevalent types of fraud. It found the most common reported type of fraud in the U.S. was identity theft and credit fraud with 11.5 percent of victims reporting such an incident.

The other most common types of fraud are:

Phone or utilities fraud (7.9 percent);

Theft from person (3.5 percent); and

Bank fraud (3.3 percent).

Although phone or utility fraud and bank fraud are decreasing, identity theft and credit fraud is increasing, according to this study.

The good news is, with the right gearing, you can protect your identity and bank accounts. Make sure you check your credit reports, and if you see anything suspicious, contact the credit bureau and the business.

If you’re not willing to wait to see if the problem gets resolved on its own, you can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at Identitytheft.gov. The organization offers a guide for the FTC's three-step recovery process.

Here’s what to do if you are a victim of identity theft and credit fraud:

Create a recovery plan.

Telephone and Mobile Services

Telecom fraud is becoming more and more common in the United States. It can be in the form of text messages, phone calls, social media platforms, and apps.

In 2018, Wisconsin ranked in the top tier for telephone and mobile services fraud. Telephone and mobile services fraud refers to fraud accomplished through the phone or internet by falsely claiming to be an agent or representative of a company or service to defraud consumers. In some instances, data may also be collected.

For example, taking advantage of an average consumer who has a limited knowledge of contracts. One common method is a number technology service provider password recovery that promises to unlock, reset or update your password.

In 2015, fraudulently dialing random numbers and then charging a premium rate for that call was one of the more common scams. Now, the common scams are mostly debt collectors. Debt collectors are a popular target because they are not law enforcement or government agency. The opportunity to scam debt collectors are limited only by the scammers imagination.

Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales

When trying to figure out when an order fails to be delivered, it becomes easy to lose the trail of the order and the money it cost. You are missing a best available paper trail. This is often made worse by on-line order block logs that can track the store, but often cannot track the consumer.

Someone else has already paid for the item; you just haven't received it. Your credit card company is going to argue that you didn't lose anything and that is a valid point. However, you've spent someone's money without delivery of what you ordered.

Banks and Lenders

Criminals have caught on to the popularity of individual states, and they're not wasting any time taking advantage of it. They're using these awareness campaigns to gain your trust and steal your money.

You may have even received a phone call or a donation request that highlights the prevalent type of fraud in your state. What started out as a helpful and useful message has become a manipulative tool that many criminals use to their advantage.

Many states are working in conjunction with local and federal law enforcement agencies in an effort to create an anti-fraud awareness campaign geared towards citizens. The goal of these campaigns is the same, to prevent you, your friends, your family, and even your neighbor’s family from becoming victims of common types of fraud.

Although these communications are usually intended as a helpful reminder, there is an inherent danger in the form of phishing scams and phone scams. Phishing, which is common in all states, is when criminals with the intent of identity theft falsely claim to be a reputable business or government agency via legitimate-looking emails and websites.

Phone scams are also common, and in some areas the incidence rate is much higher than in others. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in the U.S. in 2014, the four types of fraud most commonly reported in this order of frequency are:

Credit Bureaus, Information

Furnishers and Report Users

The FCRA requires that furnishers provide consumer reporting agencies with, among other information, the name, address, and Social Security number of consumers on whose behalf they furnish reports to credit reporting agencies. FCRA Section 609(a)(1)(B)(i). The FCRA also requires that furnishers report all civil judgments (including federal and state tax liens) and all medical debt to consumer reporting agencies. FCRA Section 605A (1)(A)(ii) and 605A(a)(2), respectively. "Medical debt" means any debt on account of health care services, including service provided by physicians, hospitals, and other medical care providers. Medical debt does not include an individual's responsibility for payment of premiums under health insurance policies. FCRA Section 605A(h)(3).

The FCRA creates a private right of action, subject to a three-year statute of limitations, for any person "who is damaged by any violation of this title." 15 U.S.C. Section 1681n(a).

The FCRA requires all report users to have a written amended policy prohibiting such use. FCRA Section 609(g). Congress did not define the term "policy." The FTC issued guidelines stating that the term "policy" refers to the standard health care provider's written statement of its internal practices, such as a billing or claims processing policy.

Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries

This form of fraud is usually perpetrated via e-mail. The e-mail appears to be from a government organization. The victim is told that they have won a big prize from a lottery or raffle that is sponsored by the government. The victim is then asked to provide their bank account information.

These days, there are many variations of this type of scam. For example, the victim receives a phone call saying they have won the lottery. The caller then instructs them to go to a store, purchase Green Dot Money cards, load the grant amount of money to the card and then provide the card information so that the grant can be sent to the recipient.

Always verify before sending money to anyone, even when it appears that you are dealing with a government organization. Also, avoid being scammed by asking for a call back number or other information from the caller.

It is important to remember that if you win a legitimate lottery or raffle, you will never be asked to pay any fees or give out your bank account information. So, never give anyone the information to your bank account.

Auto-related fraud was the most prevalent type of fraud in 19 states, including South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and New Hampshire.

Identity theft was the top type of fraud affecting residents in Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Vermont.

Terminated credit card fraud ranked as most problematic in Maryland.

Identity theft was also the biggest problem for residents in Indiana.

Identity theft, which often includes credit card fraud, was the biggest problem for residents in Minnesota.

Victims of identity theft can have their credit history ruined, lose money, time, and a lot of patience. Not only that, but they can spend many months and even years trying to repair their credit.

Internet Services

As millions of people use the Internet every day, criminals have come up with new ways to try to steal identities and fraudulently gain access to your credit card information, bank accounts and other personal information. Some of the most common types of identity theft and fraud on the Internet involve:

  • Viruses
  • Phishing scams
  • Spyware
  • Identity theft/ credit card fraud
  • Online auction fraud
  • Internet auction fraud
  • Phone scams

Some fraud is obvious, but some is not so apparent. As the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, so as the criminals. So, how do you protect yourself and stay safe on the Internet?

First and foremost, learn basic computer security tips. These days, firewalls, user passwords and virus protection are a standard part of all computers. But don’t forget the most basic tip of all. Don’t give out your personal or bank information to anyone over the Internet.

Beware of emails and Web sites that ask for personal or banking information. You should never give out your personal information over the Internet to anyone you don’t know or who you don’t trust.

What’s Most Common

In Your State?

When you buy a home, you might start looking at different types of insurance policies to protect your investment and your family. Most of the time, you’ll be looking to purchase insurance for your home, auto, property, and life. These types of insurance are relatively straightforward because they are fairly similar from one state to the next.

However, suppose you live in a state plagued with a higher rate of certain types of insurance fraud. What insurance do you need to protect yourself and your family? Before you commit to life, term, disability, auto, or homeowner’s insurance, you should familiarize yourself with the types of insurance fraud that may more commonly occur in your state.

Healthcare fraud, also known as medical insurance fraud, is a type of insurance fraud that occurs in the healthcare industry. This type of fraud may include health care services that have been illegally performed or health care costs that have unlawfully been inflated.

This type of fraud may also include a healthcare provider submitting forged or fraudulent claims for healthcare services, with or without the assistance of the provider receiving payment for the fraudulent claims.

Below, is a table that indicates what percentage of each type of fraud occurs in each state.

New York

{1}. 1%
{2}. 2%
{3}. 7%

About This Report

What is the most common type of fraud in your state? Each state in the U.S. has a different fraud problem. Our data reveals what type of fraud is most reported in every state. We also rank the most popular scams in the country at a national level. To see the full lists for all states, pull up the full report on our blog.

Fraud comes in many different forms, including social security fraud, identity theft, mortgage fraud, insurance fraud, and much more. The most common type of fraud in each state is overwhelmingly identity theft. In fact no other type of fraud even comes close. This makes sense– identity theft is far and away the most commonly reported crime and the most widespread crime in the U.S.

Identity theft is when somebody steals your identity in order to make money from it. Often times while your identity is used to take out loans, credit cards, or make fake paychecks.

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