The FTC Releases the 2017 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book

Client Alert

The Federal Trade Commission has released the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for 2017. The Data Book highlights statistics on reports received from consumers about fraud, identity theft, and other consumer protection topics. Based on the nearly 2.7 million reports received in 2017 (which was down slightly from 2016), 1.1 million (42.45%) involved fraud and 371,000 (13.87%) involved identity theft, with the remaining 1.2 million (43.59%) falling into the other 28 categories. The Data Book is available at https://www.ftc.gov/policy/reports/policy-reports/commission-staff-reports/consumer-sentinel-network-data-book-2017/main

Importantly, as the chart below reflects, fraud complaints by individuals over 60 years old account for 35% of all complaints (by individuals who provided their age), which is down from 37% in 2016.  60 - 69 year olds reported the highest number of complaints, accounting for almost one fifth of the fraud complaints. Moreover, the amount of money lost to fraud by individuals over age 60 totaled $249 million, or 41% of all monies lost. This is the first year that the Data Book included information about the dollar amount of losses by age group.
 



The Data Book also contains information on the percentage of complaints in which a financial loss was reported. In this regard, seniors reported being defrauded the least often, however, when they were defrauded, it was for more money. The 60+ age groups reported paying out money in connection with only 18% - 20% of the complaints that they lodged. This is compared to the 20 – 29 age group, who reported the highest rate of loss at 40%. Despite the lower frequency of paying out money, the 60+ age groups reported the highest median losses when they did pay out, with a substantial jump in the 80 and over age group, who experienced a 75% higher median loss than the next closest (70 – 79) age group. 



The Data Book also ranks each State with respect to fraud and other reports. Florida and Georgia rank number 1 and 2, which is the same ranking each State held in 2016. Nevada, Delaware, and Michigan round out the top five states. Nevada and Michigan switched positions from 2016, while Delaware replaced Texas in the top five. 


Although the total number of fraud complaints decreased from 1.3 million in 2016 to just over 1.1 million in 2017, the amount lost due to fraud increased by $63 million, to $905 million. The Data Book makes clear that fraud, and fraud on seniors in particular, continues to be an issue.