FTC Report: the Top Fraud Types of 2016

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives millions of calls, letters or emails telling the commission about fraud or identity theft. The three million occasions of fraud and 1.3 million fraud reports received by the FTC in 2016 yielded an interesting picture of what happened last year.

The top complaint for the second consecutive year was debt collection, which is easier to report because people can forward debt collection messages they receive from their mobile phones.  According to Monica Vaca of the FTC’s Division of Consumer Response and Operations, “The big news is that, for the first time, imposter scams (in second place) passed identity theft for the number of complaints.” In close third and fourth places were identity theft and credit card fraud.
FTC Report: the Top Fraud Types of 2016 photo of gavel in front of american flag
People are reporting government imposter scams in increasing numbers. Warns the FTC, “Imposter scams come in many varieties, but work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money.”
A few statistics demonstrate the FTC’s point that “Your reports matter.” In 2017 the FTC recovered $10 billion (from Volkswagen) and $200 million (from Herbalife) to refund money to consumers injured by those companies’ deceptive practices.
  • Imposter scams are the number one complaint category for military consumers.
  • People reported paying an extraordinary total of $744 million to scammers, with a median payment of $450.
  • Of the half of the reports that told how the victims were contacted by the scammers, 77 percent said it was by telephone, while only eight percent said email and three percent said mail.
At the same time, estimates of the amount of advertising fraud, global advertising revenue wasted on fraudulent traffic, or clicks automatically generated by bots, could reach $16.4 billion in 2017, reported businessinsider.com. “That figure is more than double the $7.2 billion the Association of National Advertisers estimated would be lost due to ad fraud in 2016.”
Craig Follis has extensive experience in litigation, negotiating and settling suits, and providing legal opinions on liability and insurance coverage. You can reach him at (888) 703-0109 or via email at cfollis@lawyersva.com.

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