WASHINGTON, D.C. –
With consumer fraud incidents on the rise — especially through a scam that started on social media — the Federal Trade Commission recently launched a new reporting system.
Highlighting automotive as one of the primary segments in its opening campaign, the FTC has launched a new website, ReportFraud.ftc.gov, where consumers can report fraud and all other consumer issues directly to the FTC.
At ReportFraud.ftc.gov, officials explained that consumers will find a streamlined and user-friendly way to submit reports to the FTC about scams, frauds, and bad business practices.
The FTC emphasized that it has long encouraged consumers to report these issues to the FTC when they encounter them — whether or not they lost money to the fraud.
“Every time you report scams or bad business practices to the FTC, you’re helping to protect your community,” said Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
“With ReportFraud.ftc.gov, it’s quicker and easier than ever to share your story, and each report helps the FTC, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, fight fraud,” Smith continued.
The launch coincided with newly released data from the FTC that showed that there has been a surge in reports from people who say they lost money to a scam that started on social media, including a spike of these complaints in the spring at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
FTC data indicated that the number of complaints about scams that started on social media has more than tripled in the past year.
People reported losing more than $117 million to this type of scam in just the first six months of 2020 compared to $134 million for all of 2019, according to the FTC’s latest Consumer Protection Data Spotlight.
Online shopping topped the list of complaints from consumers who reported a scam to the FTC that originated on social media. Of these consumers, many were responding to an ad they saw on social media and reported that the item they ordered never arrived.
Officials added that most of those consumers (94%) who identified the social media service in their complaint cited Facebook or Instagram as the platform they used.
To help those individuals, the regulator highlighted that its new reporting system will provide streamlined experience and advice for consumers filing complaints with the FTC.
One new feature of the site is that consumers who file a report will receive next steps from the FTC with advice on what to do based on their particular report.
The FTC has more information available for consumers, including a new video explaining how the site works.
The site takes the place of the FTC Complaint Assistant, and consumers visiting that site will be redirected to ReportFraud.ftc.gov to share their information.
The site is also in Spanish at ReporteFraude.ftc.gov.