[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 169 (Wednesday, September 1, 2010)]
[Pages 53697-53699]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-21886]



Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request

AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission (``Commission'' or ``FTC'').

ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.


SUMMARY: The FTC intends to conduct a survey of consumers to advance 
its understanding of the prevalence of consumer fraud and to allow the 
FTC to better serve people who experience fraud. The survey is a 
follow-up to two previous surveys - the first was conducted in May and 
June of 2003 and the second in November and December of 2005. Before 
gathering this information, the FTC is seeking public comments on its 
proposed consumer research. Comments will be considered before the FTC 
submits a request for Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') review 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before November 1, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments 
electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the 
Request for Comments part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section 
below. Comments in electronic form should be submitted by using the 
following weblink: (https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/fraudsurvey2010) (and following the instructions on the web-based 
form). Comments filed in paper form should be mailed or delivered to 
the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the 
Secretary, Room H-135 (Annex J), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., 
Washington, DC 20580, in the manner detailed in the ``Request for 
Public Comments'' part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be addressed to Keith B. Anderson, Economist, Bureau of 
Economics, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Mail 
Stop NJ-4136, Washington, DC 20580. Telephone: (202) 326-3428.


1. Background

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521 (``PRA''), 
federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of 
information they conduct or sponsor. ``Collection of

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information'' means agency requests or requirements that members of the 
public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third 
party. 44 U.S.C. 3502(3), 5 CFR 1320.3(c). As required by section 
3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for 
public comment before requesting that OMB grant clearance for the 
current proposed survey.
    In 2003, OMB approved the FTC's request to conduct a survey on 
consumer fraud and assigned OMB Control Number 3084-0125. The FTC 
completed the consumer research in June 2003 and issued its report, 
``Consumer Fraud in the United States: An FTC Survey,'' in August 2004 
    In November 2005, OMB approved the Commission's request to 
reinstate this clearance. The second survey was conducted in November 
and December 2005. A report, ``Consumer Fraud in the United States: The 
Second FTC Survey,'' detailing the results of the second survey, was 
issued in October 2007 (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/10/fraud.pdf). The 
2005 survey asked about consumers' experiences with 14 specific and two 
more general types of fraud during the previous year. Among frauds 
covered by the survey were whether the person had purchased a weight-
loss product that did not work as promised, whether the person had 
fallen victim to an advance-fee loan scam, and whether the person had 
paid someone to remove derogatory information from his or her credit 
report. According to the survey results, 30.2 million adults in the 
United States - 13.5 percent of all adults in the country - had been a 
victim during the previous year of one or more of the frauds included 
in the survey.
    Among the 14 specific frauds included in the survey, the most 
frequently reported was the purchase of a weight-loss product that the 
seller represented would allow the user to easily lose a substantial 
amount of weight or lose the weight without diet or exercise. However, 
in fact, consumers who tried the product found that they only lost a 
little of the weight they had expected to lose or failed to lose any 
weight at all. This was experienced by 4.8 million adults - 2.1 percent 
of the adult population.

2. Description of the Collection of Information and Proposed Use

    The FTC proposes to conduct a telephone survey of up to 4,100 
randomly-selected consumers nationwide age 18 and over - 100 in a 
pretest and 4,000 in the main survey - in order to gather specific 
information on the incidence of consumer fraud in the general 
population. In order to obtain a more reliable picture of the 
experience of demographic groups that the earlier surveys found to be 
at an elevated risk of becoming victims of consumer fraud - including 
Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans - the survey may 
oversample members of these groups. All information will be collected 
on a voluntary basis, and the identities of the consumers will remain 
confidential. Subject to OMB approval for the survey, the FTC will 
contract with a consumer research firm to identify consumers and 
conduct the survey. The results will assist the FTC in determining the 
incidence of consumer fraud in the general population and whether the 
type or frequency of consumer frauds is changing. This information will 
inform the FTC about how best to combat consumer fraud.
    The FTC intends to use a sample size similar to that used in the 
2005 survey. The questions will be very similar to the 2005 survey so 
that the results from the 2005 survey can be used as a baseline for a 
time-series analysis.\1\ The FTC may choose to conduct another follow-
up survey in approximately five years.

    \1\ The survey instrument for the 2005 Consumer Fraud Survey is 
attached to the 2007 report as Appendix B.

3. Estimated Hours Burden

    The FTC will pretest the survey on approximately 100 respondents to 
ensure that all questions are easily understood. This pretest will take 
approximately 15 minutes per person and 25 hours as a whole (100 
respondents x 15 minutes each). Answering the consumer survey will 
require approximately 15 minutes per respondent and 1,000 hours as a 
whole (4,000 respondents x 15 minutes each). Thus, cumulative total 
burden hours for the first year of the clearance will approximate 1,025 

4. Estimated Cost Burden

    The cost per respondent should be negligible. Participation is 
voluntary and will not require start-up, capital, or labor expenditures 
by respondents.

5. Request for Public Comments

    The FTC invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed collections 
of information are necessary for the proper performance of the 
functions of the FTC, including whether the information will have 
practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the FTC's estimate of the burden 
of the proposed collections of information; (3) ways to enhance the 
quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and 
(4) ways to minimize the burden of collecting information on those who 
are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses.
    Interested parties are invited to submit written comments 
electronically or in paper form. Comments should refer to ``Consumer 
Fraud Survey 2010, FTC File No. P105502'' to facilitate the 
organization of comments. Please note that your comment - including 
your name and your state - will be placed on the public record of this 
proceeding, including on the publicly accessible FTC Website, at 
    Because comments will be made public, they should not include any 
sensitive personal information, such as an individual's Social Security 
Number; date of birth; driver's license number or other state 
identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; 
financial account number; or credit or debit card number. Comments also 
should not include any sensitive health information, such as medical 
records or other individually identifiable health information. In 
addition, comments should not include any ``[t]rade secret or any 
commercial or financial information which is obtained from any person 
and which is privileged or confidential. . . .,'' as provided in 
Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (``FTC Act''), 15 
U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2). Comments 
containing material for which confidential treatment is requested must 
be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled ``Confidential,'' and 
must comply with FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).\2\

    \2\ The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for 
confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for 
the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment 
to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted 
or denied by the Commission's General Counsel, consistent with 
applicable law and the public interest. See FTC Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 

    Because paper mail addressed to the FTC is subject to delay due to 
heightened security screening, please consider submitting your comments 
in electronic form. Comments filed in electronic form should be 
submitted by using the following weblink: (https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/fraudsurvey2010) (and following the 
instructions on the web-based form). To ensure that the Commission 

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an electronic comment, you must file it on the web-based form at the 
weblink: (https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/fraudsurvey2010). If 
this Notice appears at (http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp), 
you may also file an electronic comment through that website. The 
Commission will consider all comments that regulations.gov forwards to 
it. You may also visit the FTC Website at (http://www.ftc.gov) to read 
the Notice and the news release describing it.
    A comment filed in paper form should include the ``Consumer Fraud 
Survey 2010, FTC File No. P105502'' reference both in the text and on 
the envelope, and should be mailed or delivered to the following 
address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-135 
(Annex J), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC 
is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier 
or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the 
Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to 
heightened security precautions.
    The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the 
collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as 
appropriate. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive 
public comments that it receives, whether filed in paper or electronic 
form. Comments received will be available to the public on the FTC 
Website, to the extent practicable, at (http://www.ftc.gov/os/publiccomments.shtm). As a matter of discretion, the Commission makes 
every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from 
the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the 
FTC Website. More information, including routine uses permitted by the 
Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy, at (http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/privacy.shtm).

    By direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
[FR Doc. 2010-21886 Filed 8-31-10; 8:45 am]