May 20, 2022

Reference: Top Consumer Complaints in U.S. During 2014 Released in New Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book

Note: The full text report discussed below is embedded at the bottom of this post.

From the Federal Trade Commission:

Identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s national ranking of consumer complaints for the 15th consecutive year, while the agency also recorded a large increase in the number of complaints about so-called “imposter” scams, according to the FTC’s 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, which was released today.


Debt collection held steady as the second-most-reported complaint.


The Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is produced annually using complaints received by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network. That includes not only complaints made directly by consumers to the FTC, but also complaints received by state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations and non-governmental organizations.

The report includes not only national data but also a state-by-state accounting of top complaint categories and a listing of the metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints.

In 2014, 2,582,851 complaints were entered into the Consumer Sentinel Network.

Florida was the top source of complaints per capita both for identity theft, and fraud and other complaints. For fraud and other complaints, Georgia and Nevada had the second and third highest per capita complaint rates, while Washington and Oregon were in the second and third position for identity theft complaints.

From the Report

The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) is a secure online database of millions of consumer complaints available only to law enforcement. In addition to storing complaints received by the FTC, the CSN also included complaints filed with state law enforcement organizations such as the Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection, the Montana, North Carolina and Oregon Departments of Justice, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs, and the Offices of the Attorneys General for Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio and Washington. Federal agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, contribute data.

Top 10 Complaint Categories 2014

Number Percent
Identity Theft 332,646 13 percent
Debt Collection 280,998 11 percent
Imposter Scams 276,662 11 percent
Telephone and Mobile Services 171,809 7 percent
Banks and Lenders 128,107 5 percent
Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries 103,579 4 percent
Auto-Related Complaints 88,334 3 percent
Shop-At-Home and Catalog Sales 71,377 3 percent
Television and Electronic Media 48,640 2 percent
Internet Services 46,039 2 percent

Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For January-December 2014

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.