Network News: Winter 2018

Winter 2018
Volume 11 | Issue 1
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Consumer Sentinal Network

Sentinel Turns 20


The Consumer Sentinel Network has moved out of its teenage years as it celebrates its 20th birthday.  The system started two decades ago, emerging from its predecessor, the FTC/NAAG Telemarketing Data Bank. 

Sentinel 3.0

The Sentinel Team continues to make additional improvements to supplement last year’s overhaul:

  • If you set up a spotlight, it will be backdated with three prior executions to provide more context.

  • Complaints are now sorted by rank and relevance as opposed to reference number.  You have the option of choosing either sorting method.

  • Alerts: you can now set an alert even if there is not a Sentinel complaint in the database yet.

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


The Sentinel Team has conducted 33 outreach and training sessions since last year’s overhaul, reaching over 570 users.  This outreach included onsite visits to various federal 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. 

New Data Contributors

New sources of complaint data are on the way.  This year, we expect to add complaints from the AARP Fraud Watch Network, the New York Attorney General’s Office, and others.  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.

Annual Data Book

Look for the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book later this winter.  Last year’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for 2016 indicated that consumer reporting of identity theft, government imposter scams, and redirection of government benefit scams are on the increase.  

Did You Know?


The Alerts feature is a deconfliction tool that coordinates law enforcement interest in an investigative target or subject.  You can place a notice that you are interested in an entity or have information on it.  If you had a prior alert in Sentinel, you can now find it in Search Tools/My Searches.


Building on the success of its two previous PrivacyCon events, the Federal Trade Commission announced a call for presentations for its third PrivacyCon, which will take place on February 28, 2018.

The 2018 PrivacyCon will expand collaboration among leading privacy and security researchers, academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and the government. As part of this initiative, the FTC sought general research that explores the privacy and security implications of emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and virtual reality. The 2018 event will focus on the economics of privacy, including how to quantify the harms that result from companies’ failure to secure consumer information, and how to balance the costs and benefits of privacy-protective technologies and practices.

National Consumer Protection Week

This event will occur during March 4 – 10, 2018 to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about money.  Check out these tips for spreading the word, reaching local press and social media, in addition to tools like social media images and a sample article to person.

Consumer Sentinel Network

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