During Military Consumer Month, the FTC is launching a new tool to explore what problems military consumers may experience in the marketplace. For the first time, data about the FTC’s reports from military personnel will be available online in an interactive dashboard at ftc.gov/exploredata.
From 2015 through June 30, 2020, military consumers made more than 680,000 reports about fraud, identity theft, or other consumer issues to the FTC. All reports from consumers are stored in the Consumer Sentinel Network (Sentinel), a secure online database available only to law enforcement. The FTC uses these reports as the starting point for most of its law enforcement investigations, and the agency also shares these reports with more than 3,000 law enforcers around the country. While the FTC does not resolve individual complaints, Sentinel reports are a vital part of the agency’s law enforcement mission.
Now you can dig a little deeper into the aggregated data from the military community. The military dashboard has a drop-down feature that shows data for “active duty,” “veterans and retirees,” and “all military.” For example, data through the first two quarters of 2020 show that, for “active duty military,” the top reported scam type was government imposters, followed by unwanted telemarketing calls. “Veterans and retirees” had a median fraud loss of $750. And 65.5 percent of “all military” — which includes active duty, military families, and reservists — reported losing money to online shopping (usually stuff they ordered that never arrived). The FTC refreshes the dashboards each quarter, so you can keep up with the scams and other issues that impact military consumers.
One more thing: we need to hear from you! The data is only as good as the reports that we get — and we want to hear more about the challenges people in the military face. It helps your buddies, colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family if we can spread the word about scams. And it helps the FTC do its work. If you think you’ve come across a scam or rip-off, tell us at ftc.gov/complaint.