Imposter scam complaints surpassed identity theft for the first time as the second most common category of consumer complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network in 2016, according to the agency’s new Data Book.
Although debt collection complaints declined slightly between 2015 and 2016, they remained the top consumer complaint category, comprising 28 percent of all complaints. The high number of reported debt collection complaints was due in part to complaints submitted by a data contributor who collects complaints via a mobile app.
The rise in impostor scam reports is due to an increase in complaints about government imposters. Imposter scams come in many varieties, but work the same way: a scammer pretends to be someone trustworthy, such as a government official or computer technician to convince a consumer to send money. Imposter scams also topped the list of complaints from military consumers followed by identity theft complaints.
The FTC's press release is here.