Law Enforcement Professionals FAQs

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What is an FTC complaint?

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, collects complaints about identity theft, fraud, and other business practices.  These complaints can help the FTC detect patterns of wrong-doing, and lead to investigations and prosecutions. The FTC enters all complaints it receives into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database that is used by thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement authorities worldwide. The FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints.

What is the Complaint Assistant?

The FTC Complaint Assistant prompts individuals through the complaint reporting process and be found by following the link on the right-hand side of this page. The amount of personal information to provide is determined by the individual reporting the complaint.

What is the Consumer Sentinel Network?

The Consumer Sentinel Network is a secure online database of millions of consumer complaints available only to law enforcement. This free tool is available to any federal, state or local law enforcement agency. The Consumer Sentinel Network provides members with immediate and secure access to consumer complaints about identity theft, fraud and other business practices. The Consumer Sentinel Network is based on the premise that sharing information can make law enforcement even more effective. To that end, the Consumer Sentinel Network provides law enforcement members with access to complaints provided directly to the Federal Trade Commission by consumers, as well as providing members with access to complaints shared by data contributors, who include:

  • The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
  • The US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
  • The National Fraud Information Center (NFIC)
  • The Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC)
  • Canada's Phonebusters

Members can use the Consumer Sentinel Network to:

  • Find complaints more easily, with a tool that works like an Internet search engine and allows you to search within your search results
  • Get alerts about particular subjects or practices
  • Find law enforcement agencies investigating the same targets
  • Set up a search to run periodically

How do I apply for access to the Consumer Sentinel Network?

Your organization may already be a member. A list of current members with online access is available through a link on the right side of this page.

If your organization is not on the list, you will need to register. A link to the right will take you to the online registration site. As part of the registration process, your organization will have to enter into a confidentiality and data security agreement with FTC. If you have any questions about the registration process, please contact the Consumer Sentinel Network at 877-701-9595 or by email at registrationhelp@consumersentinel.gov.

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