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Fraud Victimization--The Extent, the Targets, the Effects

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 1995
2 pages
Publication Series
This paper reports on the extent, the targets, and the effects of fraud victimization.
A study based on a 1991 nationwide telephone survey revealed that a fairly large proportion of the population was affected by personal fraud. The overall monetary loss was estimated at more than $40 billion annually. Almost one-third of the 1,246 people interviewed said an attempt had been made to defraud them in the previous 12 months; 48 attempts had succeeded. In 20 percent of the crimes, the victim suffered credit or other financial problems. Health or emotional problems were reported by 14 percent and time lost from work by 13 percent. Young people with some years of college or with a college degree appeared to be more vulnerable. Frauds most likely to succeed were appliance/auto repair scams, fraudulent prices, “900” number swindles, fraudulent subscriptions and fake warranties. Only 15 percent of the crimes were reported to the authorities; of those, 62 percent were reported to law enforcement. Victims who contacted the authorities met with little response, suggesting that crimes of fraud may merit more attention than they have received.

Date Published: February 1, 1995