The FTC’s 2013 Top Consumer Complaint

Published On February 28, 2014 | By Melissa Maalouf | Data Security, FTC, General

Identity theft once again topped the FTC’s list of top consumer complaints, according to its annual report. The FTC received over 2 million complaints in 2013, with 14% related to identity theft.

The FTC also estimated that the more than 1.1 million fraud-related complaints resulted in consumers losing over $1.6 billion dollars.

The top 11 categories of 2013 consumer complaints are summarized below:

Category

Number of Complaints

Percentages

Identity Theft

290,056

14%

Debt Collection

204,644

10%

Banks and Lenders

152,707

7%

Imposter Scams

121,720

6%

Telephone and Mobile Services

116,261

6%

Prizes, Sweepstakes, and Lotteries

89,944

4%

Auto Related Complaints

82,701

4%

Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales

66,024

3%

Television and Electronic Media

53,087

3%

Advance Payment for Credit Services

50,422

2%

Internet Services

50,311

2%

Hand print

Telephone and mobile services related complaints, which were 5th on the list this year, included complaints about advertising related to mobile plans, unsolicited mobile text messages; problems with mobile applications or downloads; other mobile device problems; charges for calls to “toll-free” numbers; unauthorized charges such as charges for calls consumers didn’t make; misleading pre-paid phone card offers; complaints about VoIP services; and unsolicited faxes.

Internet services related complaints, which were 11th on the list, included problems with trial offers from ISPs; difficulty canceling an ISP account; issues with Internet entertainment services, Internet gaming, and social networking services; undisclosed charges; website design and hosting services; spyware, adware, and malware issues; and general complaints about information or functionality related to websites.

 

About The Author

Melissa Maalouf’s practice focuses on advising a broad range of clients, from start-ups to established companies, on both U.S. and international data privacy and security issues. Melissa assists clients in drafting appropriate website disclosures, implementing legally-compliant e-commerce flows, responding to FTC Section 5 and state AG enforcement actions, analyzing advertising claims, and children’s online privacy and safety issues. She also regularly helps clients obtain certification under the EU-US Safe Harbor and navigate compliance with divergent international privacy laws.

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