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The top frauds of 2017

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The numbers are in, the counts have been made, and today the FTC announced what we heard from you during 2017. Here are some highlights:

  • This year’s top fraud is again Imposter Scams, with nearly 350,000 reports. Nearly 1 in 5 people who reported an imposter scam lost money – a whopping $328 million lost to someone pretending to be a loved one in trouble, a government official, tech support, or someone else who’s not who they say they are, but who wants your money.
  • We heard from nearly 2.7 million people last year. There were fewer debt collection reports in 2017 (23% of all reports), but it’s still the top category by a wide margin, followed by identity theft (14%), which overtook imposter scams (13%) for the number two slot in 2017.
  • For everyone who reported identity theft, credit card fraud tops the list, and continues to grow. Reports of tax fraud are down 46%, but it was still reported by nearly 63,000 people.
  • Of the more than 1.1 million people who reported fraud, 21% told us they lost a total of more than $905 million. That’s an increase of $63 million from 2016.
  • People reported that scammers mostly contacted them by phone, and they mostly paid for frauds – once again – by wire transfer. But check out the $74 million in losses on credit cards, which are charges that could potentially be disputed and recovered, if done in time.
  • Median losses tell an interesting story: for all fraud reports in 2017, the median loss was $429. Compare that to a $500 median loss to imposters, a $720 median fraud loss to scams that come in by phone, a $1,710 median loss related to travel, vacations and timeshares. Among military consumers, median losses were higher than the general population -- $619.
  • More younger people reported losing money to fraud than older people – but when people aged 70 and older had a loss, it was a much higher median loss than other groups.
  • And, based on reports per 100,000 population, the top states for fraud reports were Florida, Georgia and Nevada. For identity theft, it’s Michigan, Florida and California.

Have you spotted any scams? If so, tell the FTC – and then come back this time next year to hear what happened during 2018.

Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2017 Snapshot.  2.7 million reports. Top three categories:  1.	Debt collection 2.	Identity theft 3.	Imposter scams  Of 1.1 million fraud reports, 21% reported a loss. $905 million total fraud losses; $429 median loss.  Younger people reported losing money to fraud more often than older people.  40% of reports from people age 20-29 reported a loss; 18% of reports from people age 70+ reported a loss.  But when people aged 70+ had a loss, the median loss was much higher. Median loss $400 for age 20-29; median loss $621 for age 70-79; median loss $1,092 for age 80+.  Imposter scam reports: 1 in 5 people lost money to a reported imposter scam. $328 million reported lost; $500 median loss.  Identity theft reports: Credit card fraud increased 23% from 2016. Tax fraud decreased 46% from 2016.  Federal Trade Commission.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


How do I file a claim for a purchase/investment with a company that will not respond to numerous emails requesting its status.

I get tons of these calls all of the time. It got so bad, that I got a phone block on my phone. The best one in my opinion is Mr. Number who tells you that they are frauds, and others who uses it will tell you about if it's spam, scam and fraud.

I receive 1 to 3 calls per week from a robot telling me how would you like to earn thousands of dollars per day.

I think the cell phone companies should be sued for selling our cell phone numbers to solitors.

I get the Sheriff Department Scam they tell me I owe a pay day loan and I'm going to be arrested if I don't pay the settlement they offer me.

I would like the FTC to enforce the Do Not Call list. However, for that to happen, the phone companies would need to provide reliable caller ID. It probably would take an act of Congress to get the phone companies to do that.

Since the beginning of March,I've gotten 10 plus cells from the contact unavailable. I answered it once.The first thing they say is,I'm from the United Statès. When I ask what department they said the department of grants.Telling him I don't work and don't need a grant He started to tell me about money. I hung up. I don't answer these anymorè. When I get calls with a number I block them.

Is Burlington Financial okay? I'm paying them monthly to settle debts for me. The debt collectors have not contacted me since so I suppose they are Legit?

I received a call in regards to a small loan. In order to make sure they had the correct bank account they put 725.00 in bank. The bank told me it was a good check. They allowed me to take 700. Out. I was instructed by loan company to return 700 by money gram. This also showed I was an honest person. A few hrs later the bank said the check was no good and I now owe them 700.00....I feel like I should not have to pay back the 700. Because the bank approved me taking money out.(wells Fargo)

I got a voicemail that advised that if I did not contact them that they would notify the "proper authorities." I happily returned their call and instructed them to notify those authorities, and then I hung up, and that was the end of it.

I have seen scammed by Publishers Clearing House and I have plenty of proof and 2 letters that athentic. I work 16 hours a day doing what They told me to do. They to
Old me several times I was a guaranteed winner and then they told me I had to buy something and I did 5 times and they never showed up".

I got a call from the FBI stating that I must be in DC within 10 days for court. This concerns money I sent thru Western Union and Money gram. That because I sent money over seas I'm guilty of money laundering. I stated that I have the right to send money we here I want and to whom I want. Apparently not.. Depends on the country you send it to. Told me to lawyer up. Gave me a number in DC.. A law office. Got their voicemail. It said.. Leave a message. What? Law office in DC and that's their message. Why is the FBI telling me this and not the DC law firm? No emails have been sent to me. No official mail has been sent. He said I should get a lawyer before I get sopeanaed. I don't get it. He also used scare tactics with my arrest and that scammers will come to my house if not stopped. I honestly don't know what to do or think. I just wanted to help a friend and send money.

The cable tv/phone/internet bundle pricing scam is probably one of the biggest thefts to consumers. They offer services at a given price, customer agrees, then they raise the price - sometimes after they hook up the services. I read 95 million cable tv customers in 2018. AT&T bought Direct tv around 2016, so estimate over 50 million customers times $10 overcharge=
$6 billion overcharged in 1 year.

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