Consumer complaints to the FTC increased in 2015
The FTC received more than 3 million complaints in 2015. That’s up from 2.5 million in 2014. Some of the increase can be attributed to the fact that more people know to complain to the FTC about bad business practices, frauds and scams. Technology helped, too — more complaints are reaching the FTC through the convenience of mobile apps. The top three complaint categories are still debt collection, identity theft, and imposter scams. The FTC took aggressive action in 2015 to help address each area and will continue to make each a high priority in 2016.
- Abusive debt collection: The FTC brought a record number of new cases, banned bad debt collectors, talked with industry, and found new ways to do outreach.
- Identity Theft recovery: During 2015, the FTC launched a major advance to help identity theft victims: When you use IdentityTheft.gov, you'll get a personal recovery plan that walks you through each recovery step, tracks your progress and adapts to your changing situation, and pre-fills letters and forms for you.
- Imposter scams: These are scams where con artists impersonate government officials or others. The FTC brought cases, shut down an operation that claimed to work for Medicare, issued dozens of blog posts, and partnered with consumer groups and other federal agencies to host webinars, town halls, and twitter chats.
Rounding out 2015’s top 10: Telephone and mobile services; prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries; banks and lenders; shop-at-home and catalog sales; auto-related complaints; and television and electronic media.
For a complete list of all complaint categories, check out page six of the FTC’s 2015 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.
Your complaints matter to 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 scammers. The FTC’s aggressive law enforcement efforts put the bad guys out of business, and our consumer education campaigns empower people just like you to make well-informed buying decisions and recognize frauds and scams. And you can watch this space, about this time next year, to see where your reports came in the line-up of 2016’s top frauds.