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The top frauds of 2019

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Each year, the FTC takes a hard look at the number of reports people make to our Consumer Sentinel Network. In fact, during 2019, we got more than 3.2 million reports to the FTC from you. We’ve read what you’ve said, and crunched the numbers. Here’s what you told us in 2019.

  • Imposter scams was the number one fraud reported to Sentinel in 2019. People reported losing more than $667 million to imposters, who often pretended to be calling from the government or a well-known business, a romantic interest, or a family member with an emergency. When people lost money, they most frequently reported paying scammers with a gift card.
  • Social Security imposters were the top government imposter scam reported. There were 166,190 reports about the Social Security scam, and the median individual loss was $1,500.
  • Phone calls were the number one way people reported being contacted by scammers. While most people said they hung up on those calls, those who lost money reported a median loss of $1,000 in 2019.

You might wonder what, besides these numbers, comes out of reporting scams and other consumer issues to the FTC. Well, because of your reports, the FTC and its law enforcement partners are able to investigate the people and companies that trick people into paying money. Your reports help build and bring those cases, which also helps us enforce laws that stop scams and other dishonest business practices that take people’s money.


In fact, during 2019, FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to people who lost money. More than 1.9 million people cashed checks mailed by the FTC. And, in the last four years, people have cashed more than one billion dollars in FTC refund checks. That’s real money back into people’s pockets.


So if you’ve spotted a scam, keep telling us about it at If you need more information about these top frauds, visit, and


Curious about exploring Consumer Sentinel data, or just want to see what’s happening in your state? Check out this new video to learn how.


Scam Tags:  Avoiding Scams


I have a habit of not answering any call without caller ID or message on my answering machine.

Yes, that is best way as same as we did too!

Yes we do

Shame things go on like this. Had to unlearn my habits and now ignore unknowns.

constantly getting calls about credit cards (lowering interest rates, calls saying they are Apple, calling about problems with my computer, I do not have an Apple) Also get calls referring to social security

Received 5 messages from Apple Inc. Telling me to press 1 to speak to a representative or 2 to hang up. Didn't answer the messages as I don't own any apple products. Also was left a message saying my service from local gas and electric company would be shut off in 45 minutes, if I didn't respond. Didn't see message until next day, service still on.

A call from Apple Inc. is a scam. They'll tell you that your iCloud account security has been breached and try to walk you thru how to fix your network security breach by trying to have access to your Apple device and have you install a new encryption card.

I am having this same problem. Some keep calling every 11 minutes. I have pretty much stopped answering any phone calls except those numbers I know.

Thank you for helping with this massive problem. :)

Receives calls saying that I owe on a credit card account. I have BLOCKED all the numbers, but my voicemail will pick up the message if the call leaves one. I even received a call the number coming from my local county sheriff's office. He said he had documents that he was going to deliver to my home. When I called his number back, it was the fax machine number from the Sheriff office

The same thing has happened to me2009-2019. It's a phantom debt collector scheme of some sort. More info can be found on this FTC website. Write the information down, and file a complaint. That is what I did, and have continued to do. The anniversary of the last call is in a week. This year I am better prepared for the callers.

When did that happen

Get a phone call everyday phone shows scammer likely I don't answer

Lately receiving calls about my power to be shut off due to non payment when I have automatic debit every month.

same thing. Caller said utility needed to verify my account by getting the the sum of my last auto debit. Because i hadnt replied to a notice ( i never got, it), the power would be shut off immediately. I still dont see what they achieved by this scam. A door to door person was asking the same thing last summer

why cant we get these jerks to stop? Now they are going thru numbers in my land line spoofing my friends numbers and calling at 5AM to 630 AM! IM GETTING SICK OF THIS! YOU HAVE TO DO MORE THAN WRITE A REPORT! THIS HAS TO STOP

The phone scammers have gotten more sophisticated lately. They often use a fake name or business when robo calling. I use a cell phone with an old number with an out-of-state area code. Virtually all robo calls with that area code are scammers so I never answer them.

It seems like I am in good company! I get calls all the time, I do not answer them if I do not know the numbers or the names. This person calls himself "UNKNOWN" I will not talk to this person since I do not know him/her/or alien.

On 1/23 /2020 receive a call I didn’t answer so then let this voice mail FSA back is 424-270-0089 the reason you have received his phone call from our department is to inform you that there's a legal enforcement action filed on your social security number for fraudulent activity so before this matter goes to the state courthouse and before you get arrested if you need any information or have any question kindly call us back at 424-270-0089 thank you…” please help just I call

I just had that call, I was stupid enough to respond to them and give them my SIN, but when they asked me to go to Sephora and get gift cards and give them the numbers I figured this is stupid. Dont answer them ever.

Phew, I thought I was losing my mind.

I got that call also! I was ready to call back when my daughter said not to because she doesn't think social security calls people. If they want to get in touch with you, they'll probably send a letter?

I received 2 similar voicemails today 2/4/20 saying the same thing. The only difference is they have a different number. The calls say “_⁠_⁠_ action _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ on your _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ number for fraudulent activity so before this matter goes to the state court house and before you get arrested if you need any information or have any _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ kindly call us back at 916-378-8641 thank you…”

I was getting calls from scammers all day long. I didn't answer the phone because I didn't recognize any of the numbers. Eventually the calls stopped. Now I get an occasional scam call and that's it (and I don't answer the occasional call either). The way to stop these calls is simply DO NOT ANSWER YOUR PHONE. The calls will stop.

I'm a business - I get these robo calls all day long. I have to answer or I might actually miss a client.

I received a call from my own phone number on the phone with that number.

That has happened to me several times, but I never answer the phone when I see it. They are probably cloning our numbers.

That's happened to us a few times, some family members even claimed they got a call from 'us'... they answered and nope, it was some bogus call and they didn't even listen to whatever it was about, they just got as far as "Hi, this is Brenda from..." *click*. It's called spoofing, unfortunately it's allowed to be done, and yes even by telemarketers. But since it's been getting used so much by scammers I'm thinking they need to make all spoofing illegal. And on top of that get rid of telemarketing all together cause who actually wants to get calls from telemarketers, seriously!?

I received a call from my own phone....caller ID said it was from my phone. Reported it to FTC.

Welcome to retirement. Phone rings all day long: credit cards either better rates or there is a problem; arrest warrants - even for deceased family members; car warranty; social benefits; computer problems detected on their end. Call blocker doesn't work because the use local numbers as well as 800 numbers. Calls went from 8am to 8 pm to around the clock. When phone wakes you up at 4am, you have a family member in the hospital, your mind goes there - not another death in the middle of the night. Instead it's some jerk who doesn't speak English wanting to scam you. Tell me what good these phone inventions are???

I pick up the call and put it next to the cell phone while playing tunes off my iPhone list.

Thank goodness for caller ID. I let message play through and then ignored. It DID NOT appear on my phone with the telephone number they gave me to call. Again I ignored call.

I get all kinds of scam calls, but today I received a call about lowering my interest rate on credit cards. He tried his best to get my birthdate & last 4 of my SS number. He gave me a case # and a warrant #. He said his name was Erick Young & his badge # is dc12577. He said I would be arrested for fraud that happened in Texas. I live in NC. This call was unusual because he gave me his info. which I’m sure is fraudulent.

it amazes me that I keep getting phone calls with local phone numbers and people's names and the call is about either the electric company overcharging me and owes me a refund. Which is far from the truth, or a credit card company is lowering my credit card rate to 0% and I don't have any. These two scams are using real people's names and who knows whose telephone numbers. I get 3-6 calls a day from each

We just don't answer the phone unless the caller is identifiable in our phone number list. All our friend know this so basically, if we don't answer, we aren't home. Professionals are good about living messages so we aren't bothered with scammers or solar salesmen. I do think the recorded messages supposedly from Social Security, the IRS or Microsoft are funny and good for a chuckle.

I do too. Sometimes I play along with them by asking lots of questions and make them explain ever detail. When I got a call from a pretend Microsoft tech about my computer having viruses I asked the person what was my IP address. I told him if my computer was broadcasting errors then he must know my IP address. He hung up.

I received a $2,800. check and instructions to purchase 3 $400. Gift cards from one Walmart and 3 more $400. cards from a different Walmart and spend $50. in products. $350 left was for me.

Don't EVER fall for one of these scams. That check is completely worthless.

That's a common scam for "mystery shoppers". Once you deposit the check they'll stop pay it. Mystery shopping is a legit thing, but the average compensation is roughly $25 per assignment, and they never give money upfront.

They're using a gimmick to get you to sign up for a car sticker from monster drink. Than they send you a check thru a delivery service. Checked it out also a scam. The check was listed as some company , whom I called and they were hacked. Check out , before acting.

Received a call ‭ from +1 (469) 305-3352‬ Frisco, TX Claim to be the SS office and said my SS number has fraudulent activity Message said to call them immediately

Three calls in a row from local area codes and name unavailable. Did not pick-up. The third call was from my own phone number showing my name. I did not pick-up. I find this so annoying. I understand by not picking up I am not feeding into the scam and hopefully, they will give up and move on to another poor unsuspecting party. Thank you for trying to stop this annoying intrusion on my privacy.

I never answer any phone call-land line or cel unless I know who is calling. However this doesn’t stop the calls. They still come in pretty much daily but less on weekends.

I got a call today from 202-324-3000 on my reverse phone lookup said US Government with a weird address and the Washington DC. I reported it, never answered the call. I won't answer any call that I don't know the number for. They leave a message or I don't answer or respond back.

Receiving almost daily robocalls regarding my vehicles expiring warranty . I push #2 to be removed but calls still come. Now I don't even get a call.....I just receive a voicemail so no number to report. Very upsetting.

Been getting these calls from 833-695-6341 a officer watts at the social security office I am going to have a warrant if I don’t call today for fraudulent chargers against me.

I received three calls this morning from 856-716-5073, Pitman NJ. The recording states they have found many suspicious activities on my social and before we go ahead and suspend your number, kindly call them back.

I recently identified a charge to my credit card designating DNC Telemarketing as the payee. Was that DNC? I have filed a fraud complaint with my credit card company and have cancelled that card.

I always receive calls stating either I have a warrant for my arrest, SSA, student loan forgivness, credit cards, and most of all, that any of my utilities will be shut down.... this last one I asked them the name of the company who provides me the service and the guy couldn't tell me!!! He mumbled something like electric yada, yada.... at the end he ended the call!

I too receive calls about a student loan forgiveness program. The problem is I have never in my 56 years got a student loan. One more I receive calls from a loan hardship program telling me I have qualified for a 55 thousand dollar loan. Unbelievable with my credit. So many scammers....Joey


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