NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who has led a three-year crackdown on payment packing in his state, today released a list of the Top 10 consumer fraud complaints received in 2017. Auto landed at No. 2 with 3,188 complaints, 1,965 complaints short of the No. 1 complaint category: the internet.
Internet-related complaints topped the list for the twelfth year in a row with 5,153 complaints received in 2017. The category covers a range of issues, from internet services and service providers to data privacy and security, child safety and consumer fraud. The auto category covers buying, leasing repairs, service contracts, and consumer frauds.
“The best weapon against fraud is an informed consumer,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Fraudsters will always look for new ways to line their pockets at the expense of unsuspecting consumers."
Rounding out the Top 5 were consumer-related services with 2,463 complaints, landlord and tenant complaints with 1,961 complaints and utilities-related complaints at 1,827 utilities-related complaints.
Since kicking off his crackdown on payment packing in 2015, Schneiderman has recovered more than $19 million in restitution and penalties from auto dealers on behalf of nearly 29,000 consumers. In December, the attorney general charged Victory Mitsubishi of Larchmont (N.Y.) and Victory Suzuki of the Bronx (N.Y.) with selling an “unwanted and bogus” anti-theft product to as many as 1,100 car buyers for a price of up to nearly $4,000 per consumer.
The attorney general’s crackdown, however, has centered on dealerships that sold a credit repair and identity theft protection service provided by the now-defunct Credit Forget Inc., which Sneiderman shut down in 2015 for not being authorized to engage in credit repair services. The company’s product also violated federal and state laws prohibiting the collection or receipt of upfront fees for credit repair services. Those laws also require certain upfront disclosures intended to advise consumers of their rights under the law.