Top Telemarketing Scams of 2005

From the National Fraud Information Center

 

Category

% of All Complaints

Average Loss

     
Prizes/Sweepstakes

31 %

$4,990

Requests for payment to claim prizes that never materialize    
     
Scholarships/Grants

11%

$366

Falsely promise to help get
scholarships or government educational grants, for a fee
   
     

Magazine Sales

9%

$120

Misrepresent cost of subscriptions or pretend to be publisher offering renewals

 

 

 

 

 

Credit Card Offers  

9%

$282

False promises of credit cards even if credit is bad, for a fee    
 

 

 

Fake Check Scams

7%

#3,714

Consumers paid with phony checks for work or items sold, instructed to wire money back    
 

 

 

Advance Fee Loans

6%

$1,414

False promises of loans, even if credit is bad, for an fee upfront    
     
Lotteries/Lottery Clubs

5%

$2,430

Requests for payment to claim lottery winnings or get help to win, often foreign lotteries    
     
Work-at-Home Plans

3%

$348

Materials sold on false promises of big profits working at home    
     
Phishing

3%

$588

Calls pretending to be from well-known source asking to confirm personal information    
     
Travel/Vacations

2%

$885

Offers of free or discount travel that never materialize    

Other 2005 Trends

  • The total loss in 2005 was $4,921,932, compared to $2,561,835 in 2004.
  • The average loss in 2005 was $2,892, compared to $1,974 in 2004.
  • There were significantly more complaints in 2005: 4,587, compared to 2,814 in 2004.
  • The use of wire transfer in telemarketing fraud payments is growing. Among the Top 10 Scams, those with the most payment by wire were Fake Checks Scams (100 percent), Lotteries/Lottery Clubs (89 percent), Advance Fee Loans  (78 percent), Prizes/Sweepstakes (69 percent).
  • In some of the Top 10 Scams, the predominant method of payment was bank debit, including Phishing (89 percent), Scholarships/Grants (66 percent), and Credit Card Offers (66 percent).
  • Among the Top 10 Scams, those with the most consumers age 60+ were: Magazine Sales (63 percent),  Prizes/Sweepstakes (51 percent), and Phishing (45 percent).
  • Among the Top 10 Scams, those with the most consumers under age 30 were: Scholarships/Grants (31 percent), Travel/Vacations (30 percent), and Advance Fee Loans (28 percent), Credit Card Offers (27 percent), and Work-at-Home Plans (24 percent).