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ID Theft Top Consumer Complaint 11th Year in a Row

ID Theft Top Consumer Complaint 11th Year in a Row

Despite all the education on the importance of protecting our sensitive personal information - identity theft must to be paying off for crooks because the crime remains at the top of the list of consumer complaints for 2010.

Identity theft continues to be the most reported complaint for the 11th year in a row, according to an annual report released by the Federal Trade Commission.

Out of the over 1.3 million complaints received by the FTC last year, over 250,000 - or 19% of them were related to identity theft.

Next in line were complaints related to debt collection, which accounted for 11% of all consumer complaints, complaints involving internet service - 5%, lotteries, sweepstakes, and prizes - 5%.

Shop-at-home and catalog sales, imposter scams, and internet auctions each accounted for 4% of complaints and reports of foreign money/counterfeit check scams, and complaints about phone or mobile service each accounted for 3% of complaints. Complaints related to credit cards - but not credit card fraud - accounted for 2%.

For the first time, “imposter scams” made the list of the top ten most frequently reported complaints. In these scams, a crook posed as friends, family, respected companies or government agencies to get consumers to send them money.

In the identity theft category, government benefits fraud was reported most often, accounting for 19% of complaints. Most cases in this category involved fraud relating to wages or taxes, and a relatively small portion were related to fraudulently applying for and receiving government benefits, or forged official documents and forged driver’s licenses.

Credit card fraud accounted for 15% of identity theft complaints. Over half of the reports involved the misuse of consumers’ information to fraudulently open new credit card accounts, and the rest were related to the unauthorized use of an existing account.

Phone or utilities fraud accounted for 14% of identity theft reports, employment fraud - 11%, bank fraud - 10%, and loan fraud - 4%.

Victims of identity theft and fraud reported that contact was initiated by email in 45% of complaints, and by phone in 19% of complaints.

Florida has the highest per capita rate of identity theft, followed by Arizona and California. The states with the lowest per capita rate were South Dakota, North Dakota, and Maine.

The annual report includes consumer complaints made directly to the FTC, as well as data reported by many other participating organizations including the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Better Business Bureau, state and national law enforcement agencies, and private companies.

Federal Trade Commission

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Thursday, 09 July 2020

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