Network News: Summer 2020

Summer 2020
Volume 13 | Issue 3
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Consumer Sentinal Network

Coming Summer Attractions


Undeterred by the global pandemic or the languor of summer, the Sentinel team is working on several new projects.  They include the following:


  •  A new Sentinel interface with a search-based homepage.
  •  An overhaul of the FTC’s online complaint collection portal.
  •  Important new data auditing tools to ensure the integrity of Sentinel data.
  • The addition of key new data contributors: the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Social Security Administration, and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  • Outreach in 2020 to over 1,000 Sentinel users in 24 mostly online events. 

Learn More About the Data

The FTC is making more state-level information available to the public about the complaints it receives from consumers related to COVID-19.  Reports about online shopping problems tops the list of complaints in most states.

Under its expanded reporting, the FTC is now releasing the numbers of different types of fraud, Do Not Call, and other complaints received from consumers in each state. You can find national and state-level data on the FTC’s new interactive COVID-19 complaint data dashboards.

In the Spotlight

Online Shopping

Newly released data show that since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, consumers have complained to the FTC in record numbers about problems related to online shopping.

The FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight shows that in April and May, the FTC received more than 34,000 complaints from consumers related to online shopping. More than 18,000 of those complaints related to items that were ordered but never delivered. The most common item reported not delivered was face masks, with many other reports identifying undelivered sanitizer, toilet paper, thermometers, and gloves.

Online shopping complaints to the FTC have been on the rise for a number of years, but reports of unreceived items in May 2020 alone represent a nearly two-fold increase over the number of these reports in December 2019, the heart of the busy holiday shopping season.

Robocall Reports Still Down

The FTC’s latest Do Not Call Registry data shows robocall complaints were down 68% in April 2020 compared to April 2019 and down 60% in May 2020 compared to May 2019. The numbers reflect a downward annual trend that started in May 2019.  The numbers began to increase in June but are still well below June 2019 levels. You can learn more here.

New Military Complaint Data Infographic


The FTC launched a new tool that explores data about problems military consumers may experience in the marketplace.  For the first time, data about reports Sentinel has received from active duty service members and veterans will be available online in an interactive dashboard at data.

A Virtual PrivacyCon

The Federal Trade Commission announced that the fifth annual PrivacyCon event, scheduled for July 21, 2020, will now take place online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

PrivacyCon 2020 will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, including researchers, academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government officials, to discuss the latest research and trends related to consumer privacy and data security.

Coronavirus Resources

Just a reminder that the FTC has several resources available for consumers, businesses, and law enforcement on its coronavirus page

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