Identity Theft Tops List Of Consumer Complaints
The Federal Trade Commission’s annual report detailing consumer complaints places identity theft at the top of the list of complaints for the fifth year in a row, accounting for 39 %of the 635,173 consumer fraud complaints filed with the agency last year.
Consumers can file fraud and identity theft complaints by going to the FTC’s home page at www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters consumer complaints and complaints from other law enforcement and consumer protection agencies in its Consumer Sentinel database.
The data is accessible to more than 1,200 law enforcement agencies across the country and in Canada and Australia. The information helps law enforcers coordinate actions, avoid duplication, spot trends, and leverage law enforcement assets.
“These are real people who have lost real money and the FTC offers them a direct link to finding a solution,” said Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. “By filing complaints, consumers are one click away from thousands of law enforcement partners who can help restore their good name, protect their financial security, and give the FTC the information we need to stop fraud in its tracks.” The top categories of consumer fraud complaints for 2004 include:
–Internet Auctions – 16%
–Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales – 8%
–Internet Services and Computer Complaints – 6%
–Foreign Money Offers – 6%
–Prizes/Sweepstakes and Lotteries – 5%
–Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection – 3%
–Business Opportunities and Work-at-Home – 2%
–Telephone Services – 2%
–Other (miscellaneous) – 12 %
Other findings from the report include:
–Of the 635,173 complaints received in 2004, 246,570 were identity theft reports and 388,603 were fraud complaints.
–Internet-related complaints accounted for 53 %of all reported fraud complaints.
–The major metropolitan areas with the highest per-capita rates of complaints concerning consumer fraud were Washington, DC; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA; and Las Vegas-Paradise, NV.
–Credit card fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft, followed by phone or utilities fraud, bank fraud, and employment fraud.
–The major metropolitan areas with the highest per-capita rates of reported identity theft were Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA; and Las Vegas-Paradise, NV.