STATEN ISLAND, NY – Fraudulent internet scams by data privacy and security companies, digital media, internet service providers, and manipulation was the number one consumer complaint filed with the Office of the Attorney General in 2021.
“From inaccurate turnaround times for COVID-19 test results to deceitful debt collectors, scammers have taken advantage of these difficult times to trick and mislead New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Letitia James.
James’ office released a list of the top 10 consumer complaints received by his office last year, with Internet-related scams accounting for 8,346 complaints.
The top 10 complaints made in 2021 were:
- Internet – 8,346; Internet services and service providers, data privacy and security, digital media, data breaches, fraud through manipulation of the Internet.
- Owner/tenant – 3,144; security deposit releases, tenant harassment.
- Retail sales – 2,678; price gouging, defective merchandise, poor customer service, pet stores and animal breeders.
- Consumer-related services – 2,610; COVID-19 testing facilities, alarm companies, dry cleaners, restaurants, moving companies, services for personal home use.
- Automobile – 2,283; sales, services, financing and repairs.
- Credit – 1,539; debt collection, credit card billing, debt settlement and debt relief, payday loans, credit repair, credit reporting agencies, and identity theft.
- Utilities – 1,145; cordless and home phones, energy carriers and providers, cable and satellite.
- Home repair/improvement – 1,034; repair problems and deceitful contractors.
- Health Clubs – 778; inability to cancel memberships, inability to access facilities, refunds not provided and no response from clubs.
- Furniture/appliances – 611; defective merchandise, delivery problems, and service and repair problems.
The attorney general offered advicesuch as never reusing a password, ensuring signed contracts are consistent with agreed terms, knowing your rights as a landlord/tenant, and how to report price gouging and other potentially fraudulent activities.
“Let this list serve as a warning to all New Yorkers to keep their guard up against scam artists,” James said.
“My office is committed to rooting out scammers and protecting all New Yorkers, young and old, from harm. Consumers have been invaluable in helping my office identify and eradicate fraud, and I urge you to remain vigilant and follow these tips,” James continued.
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