National Consumers League Launches All New Fraud.org
By Mel Fabrikant Thursday, February 21, 2013, 06:04 PM EST
The nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization, the National Consumers League, today debuted the redesign of Fraud.org, its consumer fraud education Web site. For more than 15 years, Fraud.org has been the premier resource for consumers to learn about and report Internet and telemarketing scams. Since 1996, NCL has tracked trends in Internet and telemarketing fraud to identify emerging scams. NCL assists victims by relaying reports daily to more than 90 law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada, including the Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General, and police departments.
Fraud remains a widespread problem costing tens of millions of consumers billions of dollars annually. Thanks to modern technology, fraudsters can easily find victims while remaining largely hidden from law enforcement. According to estimates from the Financial Fraud Research Center, the annual cost of consumer financial fraud in the U.S. is approximately $50 billion, on par with the annual gross output of the radio and television broadcasting industry.
“We are proud to debut the new and improved Fraud.org today,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director. “Fraud.org has been an invaluable tool in the fight against fraud for more than a decade. Because we track data as provided to us directly from consumers, Fraud.org is able to identify trends in emerging scams and deliver crucial prevention information about them to consumer protection professionals and members of the media. We also assist law enforcement agencies to help them bring con artists to justice.”
More than 20 years ago, NCL established the Alliance Against Fraud, a coalition of organizations concerned with the proliferation of telemarketing and Internet-based fraud. The work of the Alliance led to the League's long-term program, the National Fraud Information Center (and later Internet Fraud Watch / NCL’s Fraud Center), established in 1992 to assist consumers directly with telemarketing fraud inquiries.
“With new scams popping up every day, there is a greater need than ever for reliable information to help consumers spot the scams and avoid becoming a fraud victim statistic,“ said John Breyault, NCL Vice President for Telecommunications and Fraud Public Policy. “NCL’s Fraud.org has long been recognized as a leader in the consumer watchdog community, and this site overhaul will enable us to reach even more consumers to empower them with our anti-fraud messages.”
“The National Consumers League, an important data contributor to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel complaint database, is one of the primary reasons for that database’s volume and diversity of data,” said FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “NCL’s Fraud.org is an important partner in the FTC’s fight to protect consumers from being victimized by fraud.”
Through a complete overhaul of its design, the new Fraud.org will make it even easier for consumers to find the information they need to avoid scams. The new user experience includes:
• An updated search function to help consumers search for scams in multiple ways, enabling them to go directly to information about a specific type of fraud or, using a more advanced search, identify the type of scam they’ve been exposed to if they aren’t sure;
• Content that is easily shareable via social networks so that consumers can quickly pass along fraud warnings to friends and loved ones in need;
• The ability to sign up for regular Fraud Alerts to help consumers stay abreast of emerging scams before they become victims; and
• As always, consumers who have been victims of fraud or been approached by scammers can file complaints through our secure online complaint form. These complaints are then shared with our network of law enforcement and consumer protection partners.
“We are looking forward to adding even more features in the coming months to further enhance the experience for visitors to Fraud.org,” said Breyault. “We aim to make Fraud.org a go-to resource for consumers so they can find the information they need to avoid the daily onslaught of fraudulent tricks and traps.”