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Consumers told it to the FTC: Top 10 complaints for 2014

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Today, the FTC announced its top 10 consumer complaints for 2014. Of the more than 2.5 million consumer complaints received…

  • Identity theft once again tops the list, with 13 percent of total complaints filed.
  • Debt collection held steady as the second-most-reported complaint, with 11 percent.
  • Imposter scams — where con artists impersonate government officials or others — moved into third place on the list of consumer complaints, entering the top three complaint categories for the first time. The increase in imposter scams was led by a sharp increase in complaints about IRS and other government imposter frauds.
  • Rounding out the field: Telephone and mobile services; banks and lenders; prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries; auto-related complaints; shop-at-home and catalog sales; television and electronic media; and finally, internet services.

Florida, Georgia and Nevada are the top three states for fraud per capita and other complaints, while Florida, Washington and Oregon are the top three for identity theft complaints. 

For a complete list of all complaint categories, check out page six of the FTC’s 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.

Your complaints matter at the FTC. If a business doesn’t deliver on its promises, if someone cheats you out of your money, or if you've spotted a scam, tell it to the FTC. Your complaints help us stop rip-off artists, scammers and fraudsters. The FTC’s aggressive law enforcement efforts put the bad guys out of business, and our vigorous consumer education campaigns empower people just like you to make well-informed buying decisions and recognize frauds and scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I had the same call today

rcvd a text from 2027530576 i will type exactly as i rcvd.
ontact#347-960-6502 This is inform you that we are sending down a fax across to your corporate offices about the fraud you did and will take strictctions at 11;30am tomorrow at your employment, so without wasting time call back on the above given number otherwise we will not be responsibleashington D.C. Crime Bureau.

No company contact name given. This is crazy. I dialed the number 2027530576 and a gentleman answered the phone Hello.

These people must be stopped. If they are debt collectors than they are using inappropriate tactics.

If people would take the time to fill out the complaint form at ftc.gov/complaint maybe the FTC could expand their database and eventually hone in on the scammers. I wouldn't expect the FTC to respond to every complaint as I imagine they receive hundreds if not thousands a day.

Getting calls from 913-730-5775 Processing summons division fraud assigned to my social security number. I am to call someone in the legal department.I am reading online that this is a scam..

Call your mother's telephone company and explain the problem. They can recommend features such as "Call Blocking" or "Do not disturb "

They call me with a foreign accent and say they are from the "Windows Support Department" (and later claim from Microsoft itself). They say they have detected hackers attacking my computer. I say they are scammers and they get mad and sometimes curse and hang up. I use a Mac and don't have a Windows PC so this is clearly bogus. Caller ID says GADS1. I google this and see it is a known scammer but what is done??? Nothing apparently!

You can report your experience at ftc.gov/complaint. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments.

I just reported this scam on line. Computer world addressed this scam back in 2010. Says 2 criminals were identified and fined back then. Computer world noted that it was on going. When I received the call, the Indian accent tipped me off. Ask caller his name and location. Called himself John Mathews and located in LA. Ask him his number so I could call him back. He paused and came back on the line with an 800 # that can't be identified with reverse look-up. After reporting this, was directed to a link for phsing. I assume the FTC will just use my complaint for statistic as the stated as much. This scam has been going on for 5 years and still goes on because it works. My advice is to make sure computer is safe by regular scanning and cleaning. Getting a robo type call from any one is a red flag. Ask them who they are calling? They don't have a name yet, just a number.

I just went thru this same type of thing. My 9 yr old grandson was on my laptop when suddenly it froze up with a blue screen saying my network server had been compromised and I should call Microsoft at 888-725-5246 immediately. Of course I was panicking and stupidly believing it was Microsoft, it must be legit, right? Wrong!! They answered Microsoft, wanted to know details, then wanted to take remote control of my computer which I did. Indian accent, couldn't hardly understand a word he said. I don't have anything whatsoever against the nationality, just hard to understand and when you're in a panic, its worse. Anyway, he ends up telling me he will have to send me to a level 3 technician to fix the problem since my network server had been hacked, he said. So he transfer me to some guy who calls himself Steve Wright, same accent though. While I'm on the phone with him, I'm getting calls from several numbers all wanting to help me, calls from 570-216-5508, 570-216-5597, 570-216-5511, 570-216-3117, 570-216-3118, and 855-676-9744 whici I just found out is a company that goes by Care4pc.us. Reading their refund policy, services, etc on their web site shows me immediately that they don't know English and can't write it either. I am so angry! Wish somebody could put them in jail. I have disputed the charge to my credit card and will let them work it out.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go in the database.

same happenred here. said Microsoft, calling, someone hacked my browser, Wanted $269 to fix. they go by support-live.

Constantly getting calls from 800-746-2936 Auckland Loan Service. This is a scam. Filed complaints with the FTC, FBI and Local police department. Been registered with the national do not call but still getting calls. As far as I am aware the FTC and FBI have not caught these scamers.

I would like to see a law made that all internet companies plainly say on the front page, in large bold letters, that they will charge your credit card again and again and again for their "free" or "trial" products. This is usually said under 'terms and conditions'. Yet, the product is always advertised somewhere as "FREE". My contention is people often don't read terms and conditions, and if they do, may not understand because the language is not plain. If it's not really FREE it should say so right on the front page. If they are going to keep sending the product (and charging your card for it) they should be, by law, made to say that as plainly as possible on the FRONT PAGE (no hyperlinks, the FRONT PAGE) of their website.

This should, in my humble opinion, be a LAW. Put it on the front page in large bold font and make the language plain.

If you see charges you didn't agree to, contact the company directly to sort out the situation. If that doesn't work, call your credit card company to dispute the charge. Ask the credit card company to reverse the charge because you didn't actively order the additional merchandise.

If you've been wrongly charged for a free trial offer, report it to the FTC. You also can contact your local consumer protection agency, and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The FTC's "Free" Trial Offers? has tips for avoiding the costs that might be hiding in free trial offers.

I am getting calls to reduce my electric service bills. I get 2 of these call per day. I have placed my number on the "do not call" registry with the FTC and with My state and with the company that keeps calling. The calls keep coming in. Usually it disconnects before you can talk with someone. Today I got to speak with one of their operators and asked him "What is the purpose of these calls? I get 2 a day and have requested you not to call me 4 times" His answer was "I will personally put you on all our companies that are making these calls There are 30 companies making these calls for our call center and you shouldn't get any more now" How do they get away with it. If I tried that I would be put in jail. There has to be a way to stop telemarketers.

how abot doing something to put Great Expectations Management Inc out of business. They've been operating since 1995 even despite all the state and FTC lawsuits since that time. People are still getting scammed. Please do something to stop this.

I've been fighting with the credit bureaus for EIGHT years to remove erroneous and derogatory information from my credit files. All I get from my disputes is that "the debt has been investigated and is valid". NO, it's NOT valid. I've filed a police report, placed fraud alerts, made a personal statement on each file and still they refuse to remove anything I dispute, nor do they provide any supporting documentation to substantiate their decision of the debts being valid. In some instances, their decision has been almost instantaneous, giving away that they do not even actually investigate disputes and just make an arbitrary decision without any supporting information. I have filed numerous complaints against the credit bureaus with the FTC, to no avail.

Now, on to the FTC ... They say they take complaints seriously, but I have filed numerous complaints for identity theft against certain creditors/debts and received no response. I've now filed complaints against the credit bureaus but I do not hold out any hope for anything to happen at all. Their "enforcement" is a joke. I think they receive too many complaints to take anything seriously or do anything about any of them. Which is why, in turn, creditors and credit bureaus can continue their bad business practices; they know it doesn't matter and that the FTC will do nothing.

It's a never-ending circle-jerk of bad business all the way around. I'm fed up, infuriated, frustrated and at the point of an absolute breakdown over all this.

I have a dead beat son who along with his wife run up bill and bogus credit. Now the credit companies are harassing us for his debt. I don't know how they (son and wife) can still get credit. We are old and retired and don't have contact with the sone and wife anymore...it's not fair.

I just received another email from this ACE company about another loan with total of $1198.63 from another different email address. This is number 4 since I was told that I overpaid. This is getting on my nerves and I'm starting to understand how people snap and go crazy. This company is getting away with threats, harassment , and terrorizing people. Every time I get my SS check or pension check they start all over about freezing my bank account, having me arrested for fraud or holding my checks. They have called my part time job, my husband and friends telling them that I am being charged with fraud. They do criminal background check on me, have screwed up my debit card and ruined my credit. I have asked for help from you, the cfpb and the Ripoff Report, I have tried whatever I think will help but apparently I'm only one person and my claims are small. If you cannot help at least point me in the right direction, PLEASE!.

This FTC article has information about your rights when it comes to debt collectors.

There are limits on what debt collectors can do when they contact you. They can't harass you, or curse at you or threaten to hurt you. Report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many states have their own debt collection laws that are different from the federal law. Your Attorney General’s office can help you determine your rights under your state’s law.

"Florida, Georgia and Nevada are the top three states for fraud per capita and other complaints, while Florida, Washington and Oregon are the top three for identity theft complaints."
Thank you FTC,;-)

I received a phone call a few days ago from a David Nowarda claiming to be from Salt Lake County. He wanted to set up a time with me to serve me with papers. He said I could request a "stop order" if I called 844-850-3114, he even gave me a case number. He said if I didn't call then he would show up at my home or my work place, he never showed up, but it's still very upsetting to get these phone calls.

These annoying calls get worse year after year. I fear the DNC Reggistery is nothing more than a government run addition not much better than the other government agencies with no oversite.

I found that since i unlisted my phone number, i get less idiot calls; i do not know why this is. I also have caller ID show up on my TV so i usually can see who is calling.

One thing I have learned after having been scammed by the "Big "Guys" big time, I can now spot the scam and the scammer straight away. I just hang up or tell them do not call me again and hang up. It usually works. They now know I am onto them and do not want any more trouble.

I am on the robocallers' list! There are about ten new robocall numbers now, and at least one calls daily. When I get a new one, I add it to my contacts list and assign an obnoxious ring tone to it. This lets me know to ignore it. Short of changing my phone # (don't want to), I don't know any other way to cope, as I am sure they are spoofing the phone numbers they use. Criminals can care less whether numbers are on the DNC list. My number has been on the DNC list for several years, BTW.

I understand there was a settlement against Rachel from Cardholder Services. I received calls from this company for up to two years, filed complaints with the FTC and never heard a word. I just received two more calls today from Card Member Services asking if I would like to lower my interest rates. Will this ever end?

I got tired of reading all the complaints. So, this may already be submitted. I get crfedit card calls, computer infected calls and all the other usual calls. YES, I am tired of it. The only solution I can think of is to get our corrupt Washington government to pass a law that has teeth in it to stop all this; and a law that they will enforce. Can we band together to force out elected officials to do somthing? Our toothless government needs to become honest and work for us, not themselves!

I have been scammed by local contractors who insist on collecting before job is finished & then disappear. When I called one on his decision that I must pay more than agreed on, he referred me to contract he'd made me sign & then showed it to me. I grabbed it, tore it up & was physically assaulted. New contractor pulled him off me. I am a 60 year old female who is now being called all day long for local & out-of-state scams. Apparently they all share your information to other scammers! Its a devil-inspired plot.

with the useless comments of read your rights under this or that regulation, it means nothing if each complaint has to be addressed separately why have a dept like fcc if they have no desire to act on bogus, illegal or just plain rip offs as mass criminal acts can anyone one tell me what this dept is for?

Want I want to know if you go to FAQ they say they have sued these scammers for over a billion dollars. Okay so where did that money go? We are the ones getting harassed everyday but don't we deserve any. Just wondering

If there is an FTC case against a company you did business with and there is a refund process in place, it would be posted online here. In some cases, the FTC is able to get people all their money back. In other cases, we are not. If that happens, the FTC gives as much money as possible to each buyer. The exact amount will depend on how much the defendants are able to pay, how much the court orders for refunds, and how many people bought the product.

you still didn't answer the major question here... where does the money go? the fines that are not refunds. please don't try to beat around the bush. Give us a straight answer.

Your question is very general. You don't ask about what happened in a specific case or type of case. Cases are resolved in different ways.  If you have a question about the details of a specific case, go to ftc.gov. Enter the case name into the search bar on the FTC home page. You will find documents on the case page that explain how the case was resolved (if it has been). You can search in those documents for specifics of how any judgment or penalty was allocated.

 

Citizens who commit these crimes need to go to jail as a wake up call punishment and non citizens who commit these crimes need to get deported asap.

I get their are scammers and some bad companies out their but, after reading these complaints and then seeing what the FTC has listed as the top scams including catalogs, I am wondering what happened to Consumer Awareness and Consumer Responsibility? As a Consumer myself I am actually embarrassed at the fact that American Businesses are being categorized in such fashion and yet their is no accountability to those who actually make the consent and purchase. I have bought online, or in catalogs etc, and I made the choice, I hit purchase, I put in my card information so am i not responsible as an adult to make those decisions? I wont even post my complaint about this Arizona Company who called me to sell me something after seeing this, wow talk about selective prosecution. Im a patriot and proud American and our economy is bad enough and now I see even more tyranny here. Also I did some research for those of you asking about where the money goes thats taken back or fines. Well it gets eaten up by trustees and the system and funds more suits. This is all very interesting. As an avid blogger and writer, I think I just found my next round of topics.

Statistics and data in FTC's 2014 Highlights show that 743,111 consumers received more than $65.2 million in redress. For information about refunds in a specific case, go to the FTC's refunds page.

Thank you for the reply Bridget, I looked at many of the cases and it seems the suits are high, however many are settled for a lower amount which lowers the redress and based on stipulation if they commit an offense again, they are charged the full amount based on the ability to pay, not including that they might be hiding funds and if you find out, then the settlement is pulled and full redress is expected. The refund page helps quite a bit in understanding this. However my main question is what happen to consumer responsibility and awareness? I know their are some bad companies, however lots of good out their get categorized in a lump, leaving the good to fight for honest business, while the end user or consumer is left with no accountability. For instance, I have a water company in my area that is privately owned and my bills are never consistent no matter what i do, or even use less they seem to go up. There answer is pay up or shut off. And they respond they are not regulated therefore they decide the rates and how to conduct business. Now this is where I see regulation is needed badly in the right areas. Our economy depends on commerce and new business and even new entrepreneurs, I was laid off a couple years ago at age 53 and I have been working on a start up myself and have now 2 employees which means I employ 2 Americans and creating commerce. And businesses should be both yes regulated in the right areas and also pushed to create jobs and commerce. Yet even in my business of gift baskets i have customers who dispute the sales if the ribbon is not perfect from the shipping, I lost the product, the money and fees i was charged and the customer got away with it. Thats were I see a problem I guess is in consumer responsibility, we cant control what UPS does, or do we know if the buyer just wanted to dispute what they bought for fun or to get out of paying it. The more I dig into it, it seems its become a habit for people to do this to companies. Thank you

As of 5/5/2015 @ 8pm they are still calling people. I got the call saying they were from Windows support and they detected a virus. I told them I was on the national do not call list. He continued to say they wanted to help get rid of the virus. I told him not to call back, and before I could finish he hung up. The info that came up on my caller ID was: GADS1 404-891-5588

We keep getting calls from QVD 845-228-8345, sometimes as many as 8 a day! They do not leave a message. Answered once but no one on the other end. They call early in the morning and all day long. It's ridiculous and something should be done about it!! All these bogus telemarketing calls should be handled better by the FCC.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. These are useful details for a complaint.  Please go to ftc.gov/complaint to report this. We can't address complaints you write about in blog comments.

If you are getting repeated calls from the same number, you may want to ask your phone provider if it charges for a service that blocks a particular phone number.

We are receiving phone clls on our land line. The caller ID shows my husband's name and our land line phone #. I answered once to see if I could verify the caller. A man with an accent went into a sales pitch, and was VERY rude when I asked him how he was able to call with our name and phone #. When I told him I would report this, his response was "yeah baby". Still receiving these calls. Anyone know how to track these people? Thanks

You can file a consumer complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint even if you aren't sure what number the call came from.

Current technology makes it easy for scammers to fake or “spoof” caller ID information. The FTC analyzes complaint data to identify illegal callers based on calling patterns. The agency also is pursuing a variety of technology-based solutions to combat illegal calls and practices.

Nice try to claim that Robocallers can spoof numbers, but there are ways to track the callers. I'm an expert in this sort of thing. If I can track down the robocallers as a civilian, the FTC has no excuse for not being able to. You CAN, but you WON'T.

I was scammed out of $3500 by a Nigerian Scam. I was looking to buy a Honda Goldwing trike. I found one on a website that was for sale and like a fool took the scam hook line and sinker. I attempted getting back on the website and it was gone.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Please go to ftc.gov/complaint to report this and provide as many details as you can. We can't address complaints you write about in blog comments.

this is to the person presenting himself as a former FTC lawyer. I don't understand your statement: the ftc doesn't have jurisdiction over insurance???? Federal Trade Commisson, doesn't imply insurance, telecom or any specific industry. its my understanding that you help identify the wrong doing to the public and you get the authorities to enforce fines, fees and possibly involve criminal authorities to corrective legal action??!!! correct?

the at&t case being a good example. see notes below.

Basically we get robbed, legally robbed, these corporations lie to us, steal from us and there is NO one to hold them accountable, they know they can get away with it, they know that if they make 100,000,000.00, that's 100 million, all they have to do is pay fees and fines of 30 million and cash out the balance of millions, even billions. it is crazy that in this day and age we get robbed and they continue doing it. in fact, when at&t's FTC fees and fines got announced, their stock went up..!!! only with corruption do these kinds of things happen. now, metro pcs, tmobile, Verizon, and every telecommunication company is throlling the phone service because they know that they will make 100's of millions and pay a very small portion of that on fees and fines. PLEASE HELP STOP THESE PRACTICES...

Hopefully you will do something about Fiverr which has so many complaints that they seem to be acting without any fear of FTC. Fiverrs needs a class action lawsuit and FTC should get after them.

I agree with all that's been said I mean everything that everyone has said all has happened to me I mean absolutely everything and I have filed more than 10 complaints but never hear from anyone.... I mean can the cell phone companies get away with all this.... I guess so bc they are still doing it.... especially on a fixed income.... what can I do just keep filing complaints

I'm glad they are trying to address the complaints and make done changes.

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