Network News: Winter 2019

March 2019
Volume 12 | Issue 1
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Consumer Sentinal Network


Imposter Scams Top Complaints Made to FTC in 2018


For the first time, imposter scams topped the list of consumer complaints submitted in 2018 to the Federal Trade Commission’s nationwide Consumer Sentinel database, driven in part by a jump in reports about government imposter scams.

In all, the FTC received nearly three million complaints from consumers in 2018. Consumers reported losing nearly $1.48 billion to fraud in 2018—38 percent more than the year before. Debt collection complaints dropped to the number two spot after topping the FTC’s list of consumer complaints for the previous three years.

You can find the report and other data online.

National Do Not Call Registry Data Book Released

The 2018 National Do Not Call Registry Data Book contains statistical data about phone numbers on the Registry, telemarketers and sellers accessing phone numbers on the Registry, and complaints consumers submit to the FTC about telemarketers allegedly violating the Do Not Call rules. In FY 2018, the number of consumer DNC registrations continued to increase, whereas the number of DNC complaints dropped.  Approximately 65% of DNC complaints were about robocalls.

In the Spotlight

The Consumer Protection Data Spotlights explore selected topics based on consumer report trends in Sentinel.  The most recent one highlights that romance scams generated more reported losses than any other consumer fraud type reported to the FTC in 2018 – a whopping $143 million.


New Data Contributor

This month, look for a new data contributor: Utilities United Against Scams (UUAS).  UUAS is a consortium of more than 100 U.S. and Canadian electric, water, and natural gas utilities (and their respective trade associations). UUAS will provide information on impostor utility scams by providing a forum for utilities and trade associations to share data and best practices.  Remember that you can locate an individual data contributor in Advanced Search.


The FTC enforces consumer protection laws to stop illegal business practices and get refunds to people who lost money. This list includes recent FTC cases that resulted in refunds. If you’d like information about how the FTC’s refund programs work, take a look at the Office of Claims and Refunds Annual Report.


What’s in a Name?


To save you time, the Name Variations feature automatically groups several variations of a company name under one blanket name.  We’ve added more than 500 new subject name variations.  These are visible in search results as well as your current Spotlights, Scheduled Searches, and Graph Results.  You can view company name variations by going to the "Filter Results" section available in the navigator sidebar on the left side of the Search Results page.  Simply click the green-and-blue Name Variations icon in Subject Name.  And if you don’t want to see the Name Variations, simply click on your name on the upper right-hand corner, then “Update Profile,” then “Search Settings” to turn it off.


National Consumer Protection Week

It's National Consumer Protection Week, and you can order free consumer education materials from the FTC.

Business Education Developments for the New Year

The FTC has summarized nine key FTC developments that can impact businesses in 2019.

Did You Know?

The British Museum contains the world’s oldest documented consumer complaint: a 3,800-year-old Babylonian tablet from the ancient Sumerian city-state of Ur in Mesopotamia—now known as Tell el-Muqayyar in Iraq.  The clay tablet recorded the complaint of an unsatisfied copper ore customer written to his supplier.

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