Fraud Tops FTC List of Consumer Complaints
Fraud is a general term often used to describe a wide range of shady and misleading conduct, from giving investors incomplete information to tricking consumers into buying products via false advertising. Technological advances have, unfortunately, broadened the horizons for fraudsters looking to get over on hard-working people.
Apparently, consumers have taken notice. The Federal Trade Commission says fraud was the top consumer complaint received by the agency last year, the first time since the federal government started tracking that information.
The FTC received some 1.4 million fraud complaints in 2018, the agency said in a new report. That represents nearly half (48 percent) of the 3 million total complaints lodged with the agency over the year.
“Impostor scams” and identity theft were two of the top types of fraud reported. That includes schemes in which fraudsters pose as representatives from government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration to try to get people to hand over sensitive information.
“If you get a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government agency like the Social Security Administration or IRS asking you for personal information or money, it’s a scam,” Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a statement announcing the findings. “You should hang up immediately and report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.”
Consumers lost roughly $1.5 million as a result of fraud last year. That’s up nearly 40 percent from 2017, according to the FTC. Florida, Georgia, and Nevada were the source of the most fraud complaints during the year. Georgia, Nevada, and California were home to the most identity theft complaints.
Legal Protections for Fraud Victims
As the FTC report makes clear, fraudsters will stop at nothing to try to take advantage of consumers.
The good news is that there are various legal tools that fraud victims can use to go after those responsible. An experienced consumer law attorney can help you explore those options and hold fraudsters accountable.
That includes filing a lawsuit or joining a class action to seek compensation for any financial injuries. Class actions are often an efficient option because they allow a number of people exposed to fraud to join together and seek compensation in one single lawsuit. That means you can leverage your individual fraud claims and share the burden with other fraud victims.
Speak With a Consumer Law Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been victimized by fraud, the consumer law attorneys at Glancy Prongay & Murray can help.
Our lawyers have been representing people in securities, consumer and other fraud cases for more than 25 years. We have a strong track record of success for the people that we represent. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.