The top frauds of 2016

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Three million of you called, wrote, or went online to tell us about fraud or identity theft in 2016. Each one of those reports is important to us – and to other law enforcement nationwide and helps us bring cases against scammers of all kinds. Sometimes, these cases result in refunds for the affected consumers. But these reports also add up to a picture of what happened during the year.

2016’s big news is that, for the first time, imposter scams passed identity theft for the number of complaints. Debt collection was the top complaint for the second year in a row – thanks in large part to one contributor of reports that lets people forward debt collection messages from their mobile phone. But imposter scams are number two, followed by identity theft. That shift is notable – people are reporting government imposter scams in increasing numbers.

What else was news in 2016?

  • For military consumers, imposter scams are the number one complaint category, followed by identity theft.
  • Out of the 1.3 million fraud reports we got in 2016, people reported paying $744 million to scammers – with a median payment of $450.
  • More than half of people who reported told us how they were contacted for the scam – and 77% of those people said it was the telephone. Only 8% said email and 3% said mail.

While reports of fraud were 42% of reports in 2016, identity theft was 13% of reports – most of it about employment- or tax-related fraud (34%) or credit card fraud (33%). And there’s lots more information in the Consumer Sentinel Data Book, just released today. Look up your state and see what people are reporting in your communities.

Your reports matter. In 2016, the FTC brought cases that forced companies like Volkswagen ($10 billion) and Herbalife ($200 million) to refund money to consumers injured by those companies’ deceptive practices, and also directly returned over $160 million to people affected by scams.

If you ever spot a scam, please tell the FTC. Here’s why:

 

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Yes please

Please if any of you meet a handsome young man of Tinder by the name of Jordan he is sitting in a car in one pic and bending down in the grass in another. Stay away please he is a scammer of vicious kind!!! He has a pic of him sitting at a table in a dark jacket the background is a yellowish color the pic that bothers me is him holding his daughter she's young with orange hair!!!
He goes by the name of Jordan Arehart'
Says he's from the Netherlands and is a sargeant in the army! His ex took him for every thing and he has no phone and communication is thru a computer or tablet that has no camera it's a lie!!! Now he says he's I syria and won't be back until August!! He's really good so beware of him!! Hell send you a pic of a very handsome man in uniform with the name Arehart on it it's fake with photo shop
Hope this helps someone out there he's broke my heart also!!!
His poems are simply beautiful however plz don't be fooled by this!! He has given many different excuses as to why he can't call me!! The one 2 minute I got the voice did not match him at all the accent was horrible!!! Says he's been in the us for 20 years! His daughters name is Lisa she's in Ohio with his Ex!!
I come from a long history of military in my family and he got me for a small amount of money!!

To add to this post if I may I've found the man he is impersonating and he's a veteran no longer in the military!! I wish I could post pics on here! To add to this there's a Bruce Rodriguez involved that's fake and he also goes by jordan carpenter
The scamner is Nigerian
Last name he gave me was Nicholas Lett
Please be aware!!!

I have become a victim of identity theft again this year!!!
Year's (2013)2014)-(2015)-2016)-2017) that is 5 years in all, I just received a notification that my medical records have been compermissed.
I'm so tired just want to give up!!!!

Keep uo the good work.. How about getting some these lowlifes a little prison time, lifetime perhaps.

How does one find out if AARP is selling my telephone number to solicitors. Since joining I have received numerous calls regarding products like Life Alert, sales calls clearly targeted to the elderly. My communication with AARP has yielded nothing. It seems odd given their repeated scam warnings. If I am right, and I think I am, I want AARP held accountable.

You can contact the company's membership department and ask them to send you information about its information sharing practices.

What is going on with the Western Union case? I have not seen any updates. Thanks.

Getting text messages from a 660 area code asking if I still was looking for work. I posted my resume with Craig's list and that's how he got my phone # (yes, I was dumb but since fixed that). Wants me to accept packages for him(?) and forward them to whom he says. Pay in advance weekly. I said no. This is not the first one but I want to start reporting these.

I read the Consumer Sentinel Network Complaint Type Count, which showed a decline in total complaints for second time since 2001 (big decline compared top 2004 to 2005). I would like to think that NoMoRobo is having a positive affect here. I know it is for me.

Page 10 really puts thing in perspective for us seniors. I think this is a good chart to share with the two senior centers I'm a member of. The state specific stats are not good for my state, arrrrggggg. Nice to know any way. I will share this with my friends.

Still battling with Chase Bank over unauthorized charge to a scam company. a($12,000+).
This week, I got a letter from ARS collection offering me a deal to settle with Chase for $9.500.00. I did not authorize of charge that amount either!!

Thanks for posting the scams alert that many of us has received one way or another in 2016. They have already started in 2017 with only two months pass. The internet has major interruptions and sound being gone for hours from the television stations. They have not stop, just trying new methods. Today was with bank cards, credit cards, and getting cash from ATM Machines. With money and credit available on these cards. They were giving no such card and declined. This is getting worse and instead of better. Anything come forth we need to report to your office immediately. Thanks for the information.

Its good to know we have resources to report these types of scams. As a senior I keep close tabs on my cards and banking activities. Also phone calls. If I don't recognize the number I don't answer and use blocking when necessary.

#202-643-3074-Government Grants Agency.
#202-754-4444-Government Grants Agency.
#202-666-8583-represented like "Windows Technical Support".
All those people has pronounced Indian accent.The guy witch demand "Windows Technical Support"if I don't buy his program, threatened to infect my computer by virus and he did it.

This FTC article has tips on getting rid of malware and viruses.

also 202-854-8617 with call coming from 773-977-7167. An indian accent saying he's from the US Grants Department.

buying on line is becoming more effective with scammers. The site that you buy from sells email lists, especially Chinese companies. Once you purchase they do not give out credit card info because that will get them caught. I bought some $5 T-shirts and with in 2 days I started receiving scam calls (blocked but info saved with good security app AND SENT TO FTC). I changed cards out right away . This is a common problem since laws in other countries are different and FTC can't touch companies in certain places or companies too small to catch. Also get a second card for online purchases like a debit card with minimum balance u need and do not put other cards online or on phone if possible.

I am an administrator of some web sites(not as many as I used to run) and I was always being contacted by companies willing to buy our email list. I refused because I hate scammers. But people do crappy things for money.

What about the cable TV service streaming ads across the bottom of the screen while I am watching a program. I don't like the constant distraction of these ads. I pay a very good monthly fee and chose what programs to watch which have plenty of ad breaks. Why do I have to tolerate the ad streams?

I've been getting hammered by scammers.how the he'll do I get them to STOP? I've received numerous mail both online and in my mailbox at residence about bein turned down for a loan. I HAVE NOT applied for any loans in over 2 years. Why is this happening? There were so many loans run against my credit that it hurt my already bad credit. I need to get this stopped. How do I do that?

This FTC article about credit scores explains that some inquiries about your credit score are not counted against you.

These inquiries are not counted against you:

  • inquiry by a creditor who is monitoring your account
  • companies that look at your credit report to make a  “prescreened” offer of credit

This article tells you how to stop getting offers for credit and insurance.

I get a lot of emails from all kinds of sales (health, medical, insurance, credit cards, etc.) And they probably call me too but I don't answer the phone! And most of them are probably scams! I also get emails that say they have a lot of money for me! I know these are scams! I try to forward the emails to FTC. I hope they are getting them!

is there not a place to forward all these Nigerian scam e-mails to so that they can be investigated?

Yes, please forward spam emails to the FTC at spam@uce.gov. Thank you.

I still have a fraud issue when someone took my idenity back in October 2016 using my name address and phone number calling Verizon and having all my bundle services turned over to her new residence in my name and one by one starting with my phone and internet turned off. Then my tv service.

Ive filed fraud charges through Verizon and police department. Im yet to have phone or internet. Was told last week it would be turned right on now they say another approximent 10 days. I need my phone. If someone knows how to help let me know this needs to come to an end and now. My husband due to thall the stress of this has had 4 heart attacks and now a seizure while driving wrecking and totaling our truck. We are lucky to be alive and unhurt.

I have filed a report with FTC and have had no response. Be watchful of Sgt. Jeff Royson, Pretending to be General Stuart James Army He is getting ready to retire from Air Force at Kabul, Afganistan, asked for help and put me in to touch with Dr. Albert Sansui, United Nations Diplomat, Ghana. USA contact Adrian Klein, Atlanta, 404-519-2016. He attempted to scam me for $6,800.I have been scammed for hundreds of thousands of dollars. How can we as victims prosecute?

I paid a payday loan off in 2013 through a debt collector...the first one i made 2 payments tjen their number disconnected..the 2nd one i paid the entire amount to even have a paid in full account closed in nov 2013..now today in my mail a letter from untited court services..i looked it up with bbb...self owned by a mitchell evans..1 employee..not even bbb accredited..it tells me that original loan..my correct name..then says i need to call and pay full amount with debit or credit card..im not paying the same loan twice..or getting scammed twice..and when i did a google map search..i zoom in it shows best of herbs...i even looked up current bar attorneys in california..it brings up one mitchell evans

Deceased...what should i do???

If someone contacts you about a debt you already paid, he could be a fake debt collector.

This FTC article explains that fake debt collectors might have information about you, but they want you to pay a loan you don't recognize, and won't give you good contact information. The article has tips on what to do if a fake debt collector contacts you.

The letter states a t rosales on an ink stamp no comission date.. threatening to garnish.. or lien in properties.. says i can resolve matter by calling stated number with credit or debit card..or mail payment to said po box.. the bbb shows he just opened in 2016..1 employee... scamguard shows a list of complaints for united court services in weatminister ca... getting same letters ..that same letter i got.. stating municipal court..sherrifs office and county clerk.. i called info and it dont recognize company name...what do i do??

Also on the photo copied letter says municipal court sherrifs office and clerk of courts... and wrote the entire letter in a attorneys perspective when it says on the bbb its a collection...lol... the website it uses is   unitedcourtservices. ..not one name is listed anywhere in that website. and 1 employee and self proprieter.. mr mitchell evans.

I have an update...it took many many hours of research...it explains that short domain life of a website is highly reguarded as scam and or fraud....united court services in westminister ca...that website has no expiration or copyright...no llc or corp....no emails..nothing..i did further research and found the exact mitchell evans address phone number ect to united court services...how should i handle this??would you like this info??also...since posting a local ad this morning in orange county where its at..i stated ...united court services...real or scam??posted twice and it was flagged twice..since this morning ive gotten 3 different scam calls...looked them up..all collections that are scam..how convenient..right??what should i do besides give you all this info??go to my local municipal to show them the fraudulent letter that lists gov offices??and plus show eveything that i found in my research??

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.  You can also report it to your state attorney general and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Yes I been scam by Derrick loan officer from Sergio's Texas phone 830-865-2069 promise me a loan but told me because of my bad credit i had to put a deposit down never got that loan or money back ask for a refund he threathen me and told me good luck I will never get my refund

You could contact the manager of the company, or the county consumer protection agency where the business is located, or your state Attorney General.

You can also file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This FTC article has more ideas about how to solve consumer problems.

Got a alert on my computer to call a number,panicked and did (xorain)let the guy in my computer,knew better-panicked again took the battery out-question my tax software is on this computer in the 30 sec could that have been stolen THANK you

Has anyone been called by travel marketing world to sale there time share and they are using colonial title. There contract reads that if you do not make any more payments to the addendums you will lose your money.

The romance scammers are alive and well. If anyone goes on line to dating site and James Adams contacts you, run the other way. He is a scammer. Claims to be a drilling engineer. He scammed me out of around 20,000 in cash.

I received a cashiers check from Collins Community Bank in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for $2880 and a letter from a Harold Oritz at 312 448-7822 with an email of suvery @ qualityservice (and I did not misspell survey that was the address as it showed in the letter) It is a mystery shopper that I never applied to. Called the bank but they did not call back. I am pretty sure it is a scam.

I just received a cashiers check for Collins Community Bank in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for $2880.00 and a letter from a Harold Oritz at 312-448-7822 Suvery @ qualityservice . I also had received two text messages from him telling me I would receive a package for a shopping job opportunity that I applied for. (March 15 was the first text) the second text came on March 16th asking if I had received the package. I don't remember applying for anything. Just talked to someone at Collins Credit Union the check is a fraud. If anyone else received one they are interested in any information.

I met a master sergeant in the military through an online dating site. He is serving in Syria now. Retiring in 2 months and will be coming home. Tells me yesterday that he has a very large sum of money invested in a security company in that area. Because of the war zone, the security company is closing and my guy needs to get his money out now. Says that the funds $500,000 can't be wire transferred to a bank account. He wants to withdraw the $ in cash and have it shipped to me along with his gold watch and a necklace for his 23 year old daughter. He wants to ship the money with the jewelry to me via a secure courier service. I'm to put the money in my safe or take it to the bank safe deposit box until her returns June 1.

He assures me there is no cost to me...but, I'm not wiling to accept that kind of $$. Sounds like a scam to me.

does anyone have any advice or have you heard of something like this before?

This story has a lot of the common signs of a scam.

Like -- the writer claims to be from the US, but he's in the military now and out of the country. He's going to come home soon, and he's going to have a lot of money. He just met you online, but he says he trusts you and he wants you to help him with a huge financial transaction. He's in the US military, but for some reason he can't get to a regular bank.

I was scammed by an Andy Hunt, Indian accent, claiming to be from Advance America. He wanted ITunes cards to boost my credit to ensure the approval of my $5K loan. I fell for it as I'm in a terrible financial situation. He deposited two fraudulent checks into my Wells Fargo account which the bank flagged. The checks had a stop payment out on them and Wells Fargo subsequently closed my accounts but I'm still over drafted.
I filled out a complaint with the FTC.

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