ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — New York Attorney General Letitia James released the top ten consumer fraud complaints that her office received in 2021. The list also included ways to avoid common scams.

“Let this list serve as a warning to all New Yorkers to keep their guard up against scam artists,” said Attorney General James. “Consumers have been valuable in helping my office identify and eradicate fraud, and I urge them to remain vigilant and follow these tips.”

Top 10 Complaints

  1. Internet: internet services and service providers, data privacy and security, digital media, data breaches, frauds through internet manipulation
  2. Landlord / Tenant: security deposit releases, tenant-harassment
  3. Retail Sales: price gouging, defective merchandise, poor customer service, pet stores, and animal breeders
  4. Services: COVID-19 testing facilities, alarm companies, dry cleaners, restaurants, movers, services for personal household use
  5. Automobile: sales, service, financing, repairs
  6. Credit: debt collection, credit card billing, debt settlement and debt relief, payday loans, credit repair, credit reporting agencies, identity theft
  7. Utilities: wireless and residential phones, energy servicers and suppliers, cable, and satellite
  8. Home Repair / Improvement: repair issues, deceitful contractors
  9. Health Clubs: inability to cancel memberships, inability to access facilities, refunds not provided, no response from clubs
  10. Furniture / Appliances: defective merchandise, delivery problems, and service and repair issues

How to Avoid Fraud


  • do not use the same password for multiple accounts
  • enable two-factor authentication
  • check your accounts regularly for unauthorized transactions or suspicious activity
  • register with breach notification services

Landlord / Tenant

  • your landlord has 14 days to return your security deposit and must provide an itemized receipt describing damages if money is withheld, failure to comply may entitle you to double your security deposit
  • contact the local Department of Social Services if you have trouble paying rent

Retail Sales

  • report price-gouging for at-home COVID-19 test kits or other vital health, safety, and welfare goods to the Office of the Attorney General


  • Misleading facilities should be reported to the Office of the Attorney General


  • never sign any documents or leave the dealership with a car until you have carefully reviewed your paperwork
  • do not sign a blank document with numbers or terms not filled in
  • make sure what you sign is consistent with what you were told
  • ask for explanation on any fees or charges you do not understand and if they are required by law


  • debt collectors must provide you with key information about the origin and history of your debt within five days of communication
  • you have a right to dispute debt
  • collectors cannot harass you and must follow limits on how often you are contacted you
  • you cannot be sued or threatened of litigation on debts older than three years old beginning on April 7, 2022


  • consumers who believe they have received a high utility bill from an error should contact the Office of the Attorney General
  • contact your utility company if you have trouble paying your bill for resources and payment plans
  • low-income individuals can apply to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

Home Improvement / Repair

  • before entering a contract for home repairs, compare estimates and check with neighbors for references
  • you have three days to cancel a home improvement contract after signing it

Health Clubs

Furniture / Appliances

  • research the retailer’s return policy before a purchase

You can report to the Office of the Attorney General through this form or by calling (800) 771-7755.