Each year millions of Americans fall victim to scams and fraud. As technology evolves, so do scammers, and they work tirelessly to take advantage of you and your loved ones without a second thought.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) releases an annual report that compiles data about complaints made to the FTC regarding scams and fraud. This report – called the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book – outlines the most common scams Americans deal with throughout the year.
The 2017 report was full of data and feedback segmented into each state, the amount lost, similarities and differences to previous years, and more. While individual breakdowns can be helpful, it’s essential to learn about the top scams of 2017 and how you can protect yourself this year.
Fraudulent Debt Collection
Debt collection has been the number one consumer complaint to the FTC for the past several years. Debt collection complaints are a bit different from scams in that they include harassment and violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) but may not necessarily be unwarranted claims.
Fraudulent debt collection is still a widespread issue and is, unfortunately, increasing in popularity across the U.S. In fact, the most common complaints about debt collection were about attempts to collect a debt that consumers claimed they did not owe.
Some debt collectors try to scam consumers by trying to collect debts that are legally not theirs. Others try to take advantage of consumers by pretending they are debt collectors and making up liabilities based on personal information they obtained.
It’s important to know your rights when dealing with debt collectors, as scams and violations are common. There are specific regulations real debt collectors must follow but frequently violate them regardless. Don’t let yourself become a statistic on the FTC’s next report and be sure to learn about consumer rights.
Identity Theft Scams
People of all ages become victims of identity theft and imposter scams each year. In 2017 alone, the FTC received over 1 million fraud reports. Of these reports more than 20% claimed to have lost money to the scam.
Imposters typically convince consumers to give them money by posing as someone of authority such as an IRS official or pretends to be a close friend or family member. These scams are easily overlooked and convincing. Imposters and identity thieves conduct their scams via telephone and email. In fact, phone calls remain the most common method of committing these types of fraudulent acts.
Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft Scams
Even if you believe you are talking to a friendly telemarketer, you can quickly become a victim of fraud. There are certain rules regarding telemarketing. These rules are outlined in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Understand these regulations and be wary of those that violate the laws. It’s possible the person on the other end of the line is trying to scam you.
Scams can affect people of all ages and incomes, so always keep an eye out for suspicious behavior. If you do encounter scammers, you have the right to hold them accountable for the damage they’ve done.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of a scam, it’s crucial to enlist the help of an experienced consumer rights attorney. They can help you file a claim and receive significant compensation. Under the FDCPA you are entitled up to $1,000 for debt collector harassment, and under the TCPA you can win $500-$1,500 per call or text!
The Florida attorneys at The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi are experts in dealing with violations of the TCPA and FDCPA and can handle your case today. Contact our office at 1-844-JIBRAEL to learn about how we can help you fight these violations.