March 1-7 is National Consumer Protection Week.
During this week dedicated to consumers, it’s a good time to learn about common consumer problems so you can avoid them in the future.
In 2014, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.5 million consumer complaints. Of the complaints received:
- Identity theft once again tops the list, with 13 percent of total complaints filed.
- Debt collection held steady as the second-most-reported complaint, with 11 percent.
- Imposter scams – where con artists impersonate government officials or others – moved into third place on the list of consumer complaints, entering the top three complaint categories for the first time. The increase in imposter scams was led by a sharp increase in complaints about IRS and other government imposter frauds.
- Rounding out the field: Telephone and mobile services; banks and lenders; prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries; auto-related complaints; shop-at-home and catalog sales; television and electronic media; and finally, internet services.
Florida, Georgia, and Nevada are the top three states for fraud per capita and other complaints, while Florida, Washington, and Oregon are the top three for identity theft complaints.
For a list of all complaint categories, see the “FTC’s 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.”
If a business doesn’t deliver on its promises, if someone cheats you out of your money, or if you've spotted a scam, report it to the FTC and your Attorney General’s Office.
And, use consumer education so that you’re well-informed about buying decisions and recognize frauds and scams.
Remember, an alert informed consumer is the best protection against fraud.