Network News: Summer 2017

Summer 2017
Volume 10 | Issue 3
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Sentinel 3.0


Despite the languor of July, the Sentinel Team is anything but languid as we continue to work on the first major overhaul of the Consumer Sentinel Network in a decade.  In June, the FTC released Sentinel 3.0, with key upgrades such as new analytical and visualization tools, phrase cloud and phrase trending, and search results that will personalize user experiences.  

One of the most exciting new tools is the Sentinel Spotlight.  It enables you to view summary data and see the latest trends, quickly identify possible targets and areas needing focus, and gather complaint records quickly and efficiently.  If you have not yet explored this feature, try it out.  You’ll see it on the home page when you log on.  You will like the interactive nature of the tool, which lets you click onto graphs to get more information and drill down to specific items of interest.

We also unveiled a great new tool for investigators looking to make connections between entities and individuals: Graph Analytics.  With this tool, you can explore and visualize new and important relationships between key data points for fraud and Do Not Call complaints.  These relationships may include aliases or DBAs (Doing Business As) of companies and their representatives, including names, phone numbers, and company representative names.  Try it out by clicking “explore complaint relationships” in your search results page.

Have the new features provided you with a law enforcement success story?  We’d love to hear about it at 


The Sentinel Team conducted 11 outreach and training sessions for the 3.0 overhaul, reaching nearly 200 users.  International outreach with the Alberta Partnership Against Cross-Border Fraud included various Canadian law enforcement entities, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Post.  It also plans a training session at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Academy in early August.  You can find future training session notices by logging onto Sentinel.  Need quicker help?  There is a short online video when you log in, as well as various tipsheets in the Help section.  Check out the tipsheets on Search, Download, Spotlights, and Graph Analytics. 

Victory in Dish Network

Nearly a decade of tenacious litigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the FTC, and the Attorneys General of California, Illinois, North Carolina, and Ohio against satellite TV provider Dish Network has resulted in a record-setting court judgment.  An Illinois federal court ordered Dish Network to pay $280 million in civil penalties and to stop alleged violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and other federal and state laws.  The U.S. Department of Justice filed charges on behalf of the FTC and four states against the satellite television provider.  Dish allegedly made millions of illegal calls — including to numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry — and used unscrupulous tactics to generate programming sales.  The court also ordered Dish to ensure its marketing practices comply with the law.  The civil penalties include a record-setting $168 million to the federal government, with the remainder going to the states.

Did You Know?

July is the month of the military consumer.  Certain scams target or disproportionately affect the military community, in part because military families may relocate frequently and many servicemembers are now, for the first time, living on their own and earning a paycheck.  Consumer fraud against servicemembers can undermine military readiness and troop morale. 

Sentinel is a useful military consumer protection tool to identify and stop such scams.  Sentinel received over 100,000 military consumer complaints last year.  You can search for them specifically by conducting an Advanced Search, scrolling down to the consumer section, and selecting “Show All Fields.”  You can also search by military branch, status, station, and pay grade.  With the new Sentinel Spotlight, you’ll be able to drill down and see specific types of fraud for affected military members.  

Military Consumer Workshop


The FTC hosted a workshop in San Antonio, Texas, on July 19, 2017, to examine financial issues and scams that can affect military consumers, including veterans and active duty servicemembers in all branches.  The workshop also discussed FTC resources available to military consumer advocates and representatives on financial readiness and fraud prevention, including the FTC’s Military Consumer Toolkit, available at  The toolkit enables personal financial managers, counselors, and others in the military community to share practical financial readiness tips and can be individually customized and easily shared on social media.

Road Trip

Today, many automobiles have innovative connected and automated features.  These vehicles are expected to generate an enormous amount of data, some of which is personal and sensitive, such as real time precise geolocation data.  Examining the potential benefits and challenges posed by such data collection was the subject of a recent FTC workshop.

The Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration held the workshop on June 28, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  The event brought together a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government officials to discuss privacy and security issues related to connected and automated vehicles.  The workshop featured panel discussions on the types of data connected cars generate, collect and share; cybersecurity challenges; the privacy implications of connected cars; and potential role of government agencies.  The agenda and various panel discussions are available on the workshop page.

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