The Federal Trade Commission has released its annual summary of consumer complaints for 2016, contained in the FTC’s latest Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.  The FTC compiles the report annually based on complaints received by the Consumer Sentinel Network.  Complaints include those made directly by consumers to the FTC, as well as complaints received by state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

Complaints from consumers concerning debt collection were the most numerous, with “imposter scams” and “identity theft” comprising the second- and third-largest categories of complaints, respectively.  Complaints regarding credit reporting also remained in the top 10.

The complaint categories making up the top 10 areas of consumer complaints are:

Number of Complaints Received Percentage of All Complaints Received
Debt Collection 859,090 28
Impostor Scams 406,578 13
Identity Theft 399,225 13
Telephone and Mobile Services 292,155 10
Banks and Lenders 143,987 5
Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries 141,643 5
Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales 109,831 4
Auto-Related Complaints 94,673 3
Credit Bureaus, Information Furnishers and Report Users 49,679 2
Television and Electronic Media 49,546 2


As in 2015, Florida, Georgia, and Michigan were the top three states for fraud and other complaints, while Michigan, Florida, and Delaware had the most identity theft complaints.

The top categories of complaints often frame the FTC’s priorities for the upcoming year.  Troutman Sanders LLP will continue to monitor FTC regulatory and enforcement activity in each of these categories.