FTC Scam Alert: New Enhancements to Website Improves Battle Against International Scammers
By Federal Trade Commission // May 17, 2020
econsumer.gov report 40,432 international scams, losses exceeding $151 million
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – No; this isn’t an action movie. But new enhancements to econsumer.gov — and a new interactive international dashboard for Consumer Sentinel reports — give the FTC, other government agencies, and people across the globe scam-fighting powers that rival those of an action hero.
Econsumer.gov is a site created in 2001 by members of the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN), to gather and share consumer complaints about international scams. The FTC leads the econsumer.gov project.
One of the new interactive dashboards is based on econsumer.gov reports. It identifies the world’s top fraud locations, as well as reported financial losses from this fraud.
The second set of dashboards tracks international reports submitted to the Consumer Sentinel Network. These include reports filed by foreign consumers against U.S.-based companies, and reports filed by U.S. consumers against foreign companies, with data grouped by geographic region.
Here’s just a sample of what we found: In 2019, econsumer.gov had 40,432 reports of international scams, with reported losses exceeding $151 million.
Beyond the United States, most reports came from France, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Online shopping scams topped the list of reports.
Also in 2019, the Consumer Sentinel database revealed that 91,560 people reported losing more than $276.5 million to scams based outside the U.S. When you look at reports against companies outside the U.S., the top five categories were online shopping, tech support scams, romance scams, advance-fee loans/credit arrangers, and prizes/sweepstakes/lotteries.
Outside the U.S., companies based in Canada saw the most consumer complaints, followed by companies in China, India, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
It’s reassuring to know there is practically no place in the world where scammers and dishonest businesses can’t be called out. But these tools are only as powerful as the information people worldwide put into them.
Wherever you are on the planet, you can tell us about the scams you experience. If your report is about a U.S. company, go to ftc.gov/complaint. And if you’re telling us about a company in another country, file your report at econsumer.gov