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Agency Information Collection Activities; Reinstatement of Existing Collection; Comment Request

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Federal Trade Commission (Commission or FTC).




The FTC intends to conduct a survey of consumers to advance its understanding of the incidence of consumer fraud and to allow the FTC to better serve people who experience fraud. The survey is a follow-up to the FTC's Consumer Fraud Survey conducted in 2003 and released in August 2004. 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 (PRA), 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.


Comments must be submitted on or before June 21, 2005.


Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. Comments should refer to “Consumer Fraud Survey: FTC File No. P014412” to facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form should include this 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-159 (Annex E), 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. Alternatively, comments may be filed in electronic form (in ASCII format, WordPerfect, or Microsoft Word) as part of or as an attachment to e-mail messages directed to the following e-mail box: If the comment contains any material for which confidential treatment is requested, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “Confidential.” [1]

The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments will be considered by the Commission and will be available to the public on the FTC Web site, to the extent practicable, at As a matter of discretion, the FTC makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC Web site. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy at​ftc/​privacy.htm.

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Requests for additional information should be addressed to Nathaniel C. Wood, Assistant Director, Officer of Consumer and Business Education, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., NJ-2267, Washington, DC 20580, (202) 326-3407,

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Under the PRA, federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of 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). 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.[2] As required by section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for public comment before requesting that OMB reinstate the clearance for the survey, which expired in December 2003.

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 Start Printed Page 20915through 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.

1. Description of the Collection of Information and Proposed Use

The FTC proposes to survey up to 10,000 consumers in order to gather specific information on the incidence of consumer fraud in the general population. This 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 has contracted 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 and frequency of consumer frauds is changing, and will inform the FTC about how best to combat consumer fraud.

The FTC intends to use a larger sample size than the 2003 survey to allow for a more in-depth analysis of the resulting data. The additional data points will allow for statistically significant samples for particular types of fraud and particular demographic characteristics. The questions will be very similar to the 2003 survey so that the results from the 2003 survey can be used as a baseline for a time-series analysis.[3] The FTC may choose to conduct another follow-up survey in approximately two years.

2. 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 × 15 minutes each). Answering the consumer survey will require approximately 15 minutes per respondent and 2,500 hours as a whole (10,000 respondents × 15 minutes each). Thus, cumulative total burden hours for the first year of the clearance will approximate 2,525 hours.

3. 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.

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John D. Graubert,

Acting General Counsel.

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1.  Commission Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). 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 Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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3.  The survey instrument for the 2003 Consumer Fraud Survey is attached as Appendix A to the Report.

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[FR Doc. 05-8045 Filed 4-21-05; 8:45 am]