Attorney General Raoul Recognizes National Consumer Protection Week, Highlights Efforts To Protect Personal Information Online
CHICAGO - In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Kwame Raoul today shared the Top 10 consumer complaints his office received last year and highlighted his office’s work to protect consumers’ personal data online.
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“During National Consumer Protection Week, I encourage Illinois residents to visit my office’s website and social media channels to learn more about common consumer complaints and how to protect themselves,” Raoul said. “Identity theft was among our top three consumer complaints last year. As we increasingly shop online and use apps that collect personal data, my office is working to help consumers protect their information by educating them about best practices and holding accountable those who violate their privacy or do not reasonably protect their personal information.”
The Attorney General’s office took several actions last year to safeguard digital privacy. Raoul announced a more than $391 million bipartisan national settlement with Google after an investigation by Raoul and a coalition of attorneys general revealed Google misled consumers about its location tracking practices. Illinois received more than $19.5 million under the settlement.
Under the settlement, Google agreed to provisions designed to give consumers more transparency into the company’s practices, including showing additional information whenever users turn an account setting on or off; making key information about location tracking unavoidable for users; and creating an enhanced “Location Technologies” webpage where users can get detailed information about the types of location data Google collects and how they are used. The settlement also puts limits on Google’s use and storage of certain types of location information and requires Google account controls to be more user-friendly.
Raoul also announced national settlements with Experian relating to data breaches in 2010 and 2015 that compromised the personal information of millions of consumers nationwide, including hundreds of thousands in Illinois. Raoul and the national coalition also obtained a separate settlement with T-Mobile in connection with the 2015 Experian breach, which impacted more than 15 million individuals who submitted credit applications with the telecommunications company.
Illinois was one of the states to lead the investigation into Experian’s 2015 data breach, which impacted more than 735,000 Illinois residents. Under the settlements Raoul announced, Experian and T-Mobile have agreed to improve their data security practices and pay states more than $16 million. Additionally, Illinois will receive a total of more than $1.2 million.
Raoul also co-led a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to consider harms consumers face by the prevalence of commercial surveillance as the commission is creating new rules to prevent misconduct and promote transparency and accountability involving online data collection. The coalition asked the FTC to consider data minimization, which limits the amount of data collected by businesses to only what is required for a specific purpose, helping to mitigate concerns surrounding data aggregation.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, Raoul’s office took action to help individuals seeking reproductive care protect their digital privacy. The office issued a consumer alert cautioning users that information such as their location and search histories collected by websites and apps and reproductive health data collected by fertility and menstrual tracking apps could be shared with third parties. The office also released guidance to help people protect their personal data related to reproductive health care decisions. In addition to issuing the guide, Raoul joined a national coalition of attorneys general urging Apple to protect the personal information of individuals seeking or providing abortion care by implementing privacy-enhancing measures to safeguard data collected by apps hosted on Apple’s App Store.
In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, which kicked off today, Attorney General Raoul highlighted the most frequent complaints the Attorney General’s office received during 2022.
Top 10 Breakdown
Raoul’s annual Top 10 list of consumer complaints ranks every complaint his office receives on a range of topics. The Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Bureau saved consumers more than $8 million through mediation in 2022 and secured more than $207 million through enforcement actions. The office received a total of 20,012 written complaints in 2022, in addition to tens of thousands of phone calls. Complaints about construction/home improvement, consumer debt and identity theft topped the list.
NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS
1. Construction/Home Improvement (remodeling, roofs and gutters, heating and cooling, plumbing)
2. Consumer Debt (residential mortgage lending, banks/financial institutions, collection agencies)
3. Identity Theft (credit cards, data breaches, utilities, government document fraud)
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4. Motor Vehicle/Used Auto Sales (as-is used cars, financing, advertising, warranties)
5. Internet/Mail Order Products (internet and catalog purchases, TV and radio advertising)
6. Promotions/Schemes (phone scams, work at home scams, lottery scams, investment schemes, phishing
7. Telecommunications (cable and satellite TV, telemarketing, wireless phones, phone service and repairs)
8. Motor Vehicle/Non-Warranty Repair (collision, engines, oil changes and tune-ups)
9. Motor Vehicle/New Auto Sales (financing, defects, advertising)
10. Health/Medical Services (COVID-19 testing, hospitals/doctors/pharmacy, nursing homes, vision/dental)
For more information or to file a complaint, visit Raoul’s website or contact his office.
Consumer Fraud Hotlines
or 1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)
Identity Theft Unit
1-866-999-5630 (TTY: 1-877-844-5461)
Student Loan Helpline
Spanish Language Hotline
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