Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2019

The FTC takes in reports from consumers about problems they experience in the marketplace. The reports are stored in the Consumer Sentinel Network (Sentinel), a secure online database available only to law enforcement. While the FTC does not intervene in individual consumer disputes, its law enforcement partners – whether they are down the street, across the nation, or around the world – can use information in the database to spot trends, identify questionable business practices and targets, and enforce the law.

Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2019, snapshot: Of the 3.2 million reports, the top three categories were identity theft, imposter scams, and telephone and mobile services. Of the 1.7 million fraud reports, 23% reported a loss. There were $1.9 billion total fraud losses with a $320 median loss.
Click image to see interactive data dashboard

During 2019, Sentinel received 3.2 million consumer reports, which the FTC has sorted into 29 categories. The 2019 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book (Sentinel Data Book) has aggregated information about what consumers told us last year on the full range of fraud, identity theft and other consumer protection topics.

This year, Consumer Sentinel data is also available online in an interactive format, with updates provided quarterly. The Sentinel Data Book is based on unverified reports filed by consumers. The data is not based on a consumer survey. Sentinel has a five-year data retention policy, with reports older than five years purged biannually.

In addition to taking consumer reports directly from people who call the FTC’s call center or report online, Sentinel also includes reports filed with other federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies, as well as other organizations, like the Better Business Bureau and Publishers Clearing House.

In 2019, the FTC was pleased to welcome the data contributions of Utilities United Against Scams. A full listing of data contributors is available in Appendix A3 and A4. Non-government organizations that contribute reports do not have access to Sentinel reports, as access is limited to law enforcement agencies.

For more information about the Consumer Sentinel Network, visit www.FTC.gov/Sentinel. Law enforcement personnel may join Sentinel at Register.ConsumerSentinel.gov.

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