The Utah Division of Consumer Protection has released its list of top consumer complaints for 2011, with shady Internet offers and bogus coaching services coming in as the top complaints of consumer fraud.---
According to a 2011 state-by state comparison by the Federal Trade Commission, Utahns reported 10,985 complaints. The top category of complaint there was debt-collection frauds, which constituted 12 percent of the types of complaints made to the FTC during 2011. But Utah’s top complaint involved Internet scams that, according to consumer protection, 42 percent of deceptive pitches have come to Utah consumers via the Internet.
The division says that too many consumers feel that pitches they read over the Internet are trustworthy, and that consumers need to be cautious in signing up for a service or product so that they’re not suckered by a negative option—a monthly fee that keeps recurring until the consumer cancels it. Some scams hide the fact that they are applying a negative option to a consumer’s credit card, or apply the charges from an unfamiliar billing name.
Number two on the list is coaching services. Sometimes consumers can purchase a business opportunity only to find that over-the-phone coaches who are supposed to help consumers might know little to nothing about the product. These coaches may be more interested in selling the consumer on added services that can rack up thousands of dollars more on their credit-card bills.
Other frauds range from bogus work-at-home schemes to aggressive door-to-door alarm-company salesman. (See below for the full list of Utah’s 2011 complaints.)