Newsline) — Impostor scam complaints surpassed
identity theft as the second most common class of consumer complaints in
2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said in an annual summary report,
consumer complaint category was debt collection, though the number of complaints in that category fell
slightly between 2015 and 2016. Debt collection complaints represented 28
percent of all complaints, according to the FTC survey data that was released March 3.
Rounding out the top five complaint categories were
phone and mobile complaints and bank and lender complaints. The most widely used method for payment by
scammers is wire transfer; more than 58 percent of those who reported fraud scams lost their money via a wire transfer.
to the FTC, the rise in impostor scam complaints can be attributed to an
increase in complaints about people posing as government officials. In these instances, scammers pretend to be a
trustworthy public official in order to convince consumers to send money.
“Our latest data book shows that impostor scams are a serious
and growing problem, and you can be sure that the FTC will use all the tools at
its disposal to address it,” said Thomas Pahl, acting director
of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “That includes law enforcement actions against scammers and consumer
education to help consumers avoid losing money.”