CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)–The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says their Consumer Sentinel Network received over 3.2-million complaints from consumers in 2019. Most of the complaints involved scams.
The number one fraud reported was imposter scams. People say they lost more than $667-million to imposters, who often pretended to be calling from the government or a well-known business, a romantic interest, or a family member with an emergency. When people lost money, they most frequently reported paying scammers with a gift card.
The top government scam involved Social Security imposters. There were 166,190 reports about the Social Security scam, and the average loss was $1,500.
Phone calls were the number one way people reported being contacted by scammers. While most people said they hung up on those calls, those who paid money reportedly lost an average of $1,000.
During 2019, FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to people who lost money. More than 1.9 million people cashed checks mailed by the FTC. In the last four years, people have cashed more than one billion dollars in FTC refund checks.
When consumers file complaints, the FTC is able to identify people and companies that initiate some of this fraud. Reporting helps the FTC and law enforcement build and bring criminal cases, which also helps enforce laws that stop scams and other dishonest business practices that take people’s money.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud or has identified a scam, report it to the FTC here.