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Debt collectors – Public enemy No 1 in 2015

According to the agency’s new data book, debt collection, identity theft and impostor scams were the most common categories of consumer complains received by the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network in2015.

“Debt collection complaints were at the top of the list but the report notes that this was due to a surge in complaints contributed by a data contributor who collects complaints via a mobile app.,” The FTC explained”This change caused a spike in complaints related to unwanted debt collection calls.”

“We recognize that identity theft and unlawful debt collection
practices continue to cause significant harm to many consumers,” said
Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
“Steps like the recent upgrade to and our leadership
of a nationwide initiative to combat unlawful debt collection practices
are critical to our ongoing work to protect consumers from these harms.”

In January 2016, the FTC announced the new version of, which now allows consumers to create a personalized identity theft recovery plan.

Throughout 2015, the FTC ramped up enforcement against companies violating laws protecting consumers from illegal debt collection practices. The agency coordinated the first federal-state-local initiative (Operation Collection Protection) to combat the problem, leading 70 partners to bring more than 130 actions. In 2015, the FTC also directly filed 12 actions against 52 defendants for illegal debt collection practices, permanently banned 30 companies and individuals from the industry and obtained nearly $94 million in judgments against debt collectors.

The Consumer Sentinel Network data book is produced annually using complaints received by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network. That includes not only complaints received by state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations and non-governmental organizations.

The data book includes both national statistics as well as a state-by-state listing of top complaint categories in each state and a listing of states and metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints per capita.

The types of scams and the number of complaints will be listed below so that you can see the severe impact it has on us.

Type of scam


Debt Collection 897,665
Identity Theft 490,220
Impostor Scams 353,770
Telephone and Mobile Services 275,754
Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries 140,136
Banks and Lenders 131,875
Shop-At-Home and Catalog Sales 96,363
Auto-Related Complaints 93,917
Television and Electronic Media 47,728
Credit Bureaus, Information Furnishers and Report Users 43,939

If you have any complaints regarding scams, you can file a consumer complaint with the FTC online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).