Network News: Autumn 2017

Autumn 2017
Volume 10 | Issue 4
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Consumer Sentinal Network

Sentinel 3.0


The summer may have retreated, but the Sentinel Team continues to advance with additional improvements to supplement the June overhaul:



    • Alerts: This is a deconfliction tool that helps Sentinel Users coordinate if more than one entity is interested in a target or subject.  If you had a prior alert in Sentinel, you can now find it in Search Tools/My Searches.

    • Graph Analytics: Try out the new tool that explores complaint relationships and now allows you to search all CSN records.  We’ve also added a helpful video to walk you through this feature.  Click here to view it.

    • View Similar Complaints: You can now search by various criteria (e.g. company name, address, or phone) using the "Any" or “All” criteria option to identify similar complaints. 

    • Complaint Load Dates: These dates now notify you of the date the records entered Sentinel, enabling you to search on newly added complaints

    • A Cleansed Data option now corrects consumer reporting errors.

    New Data Contributors

    New sources of complaint data are on the way.  Later this year, we hope to add complaints from the AARP Fraud Watch Network, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the U.S. Department of Justice Disaster Fraud Task Force, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and  We welcome these additional complaints, which will provide you with important new information.  Remember that you can search for individual complaint sources by using the Complaint Source field in Advanced Search or the Complaint Source navigator, which appears on the lower left after you have conducted a search. 



    The Sentinel Team has conducted 28 outreach and training sessions for the 3.0 overhaul, reaching about 450 users.  This included onsite visits to various agencies as well as virtual training sessions.  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.  

    OIG Initiative

    The Bureau of Consumer Protection welcomes new Office of Inspector General users into the Sentinel network.  This year, the Sentinel manager has provided tutorials on Sentinel’s upgraded tools for searching common consumer fraud schemes, identifying complainants and witnesses, and isolating key fraud indicators, such as provider names and other information used to fraudulently obtain government benefits or perpetrate other consumer scams.   

    Did You Know?

    Sentinel has been receiving many complaints related to recent natural disasters and the Equifax data breach.  Simply type applicable phrases into Sentinel’s upper–left Quick Search box, such as “Hurricane Harvey” or “disaster fraud,” to call up results.  You can also set up Spotlights to monitor specific complaint trends.   

    Start with Security


     The FTC wishes to ensure that businesses have the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.  Need to provide business with guidance on computer security practices?  The FTC has reviewed its settlements, closed investigations, and questions from businesses about implementing good authentication practices.  Here are some tips on using effective procedures to help safeguard a network.  To make it harder for hackers to bluff their way onto a computer network, careful companies follow the advice of Start with Security and require strong authentication practices.

    Uber Settles FTC Privacy and Data Security Charges

    Uber agreed to settle FTC charges that it failed to keep its promises to protect consumers’ personal information and ensure Uber employees can only access customer information for appropriate business purposes.  The FTC’s complaint alleges that Uber’s failure to provide reasonable data security in 2014 enabled a hacker to get personal information about Uber drivers, including more than 100,000 drivers’ names and license numbers. The complaint says Uber also failed to keep its word to monitor rider and driver accounts for unauthorized access after 2014 news reports claimed its employees were checking people’s trip records and driver information without having official business reasons to do so.

    The FTC’s First Social Media Influencer Case

    Two major social media influencers in internet gaming settled FTC charges that they endorsed online gambling service CSGO Lotto, without disclosing their joint ownership of the company. The influencers also allegedly failed to disclose that they paid other influencers thousands of dollars to promote CSGO Lotto on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The FTC says the influencers must disclose any future significant relationships with endorsers as well as any connections those influencers have to the products and services they promote. In addition, the FTC sent 21 warning letters to social media influencers that the agency contacted earlier this year regarding Instagram posts.

    Stopping Robocalls


    When consumers report Do Not Call or robocall violations to the agency, the robocaller phone numbers consumers provide are released each day to the public, including telecommunications carriers and other industry partners that are implementing call-blocking solutions.

    Unwanted and illegal robocalls are the FTC’s number-one complaint category, with more than 3.7 million complaints filed in the first nine months of 2017 alone.  By reporting illegal robocalls, consumers help law enforcement efforts to stop the violators behind these calls.  In addition, under the initiative announced today, the FTC is now taking steps to provide more data, more often to help power the industry solutions that block illegal calls.

    The new data that FTC is making available also will include the date and time the unwanted call was received, the general subject matter of the call (such as debt reduction, energy, warranties, home security, etc.), and whether the call was a robocall.

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