Although there has been a tremendous amount of news surrounding corporate fraud or white collar crime recently, the opinions of AARP members in Montana do not appear to differ much from some national statistics in their attitudes about crime and punishment with respect to burglaries and consumer fraud. In this mail survey, 1,212 members were asked questions regarding identity theft, telemarketing, home repair fraud, home financing, home repair financing, and check-cashing outlets.
Most members view identity theft as the top priority issue for both stronger state laws and regulations and AARP consumer education and information efforts. Interestingly, even though 24 percent of Montana members say they have been the victim of consumer fraud in the area of credit cards, very few say they have actually been a victim of identity theft. Finally, "word of mouth" seems to be how many Montana members dealt with their consumer fraud experience - 58 percent say they told others about their bad experience with certain businesses or products so that they won't encounter the same problem; 48 percent stopped buying or using the product or service, and 42 percent asked for a refund or replacement from the business.
The survey was conducted from June through August 2002, and the report prepared by Jennifer H. Sauer of AARP Knowledge Management who may be contacted at 202/434-6207 for more information. (41 pages)