Identity Theft is Consumers' #1 Complaint; Debt Collector Practices #2 According to FTC Report

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The Federal Trade Commission late yesterday released their annual list of top consumer complaints. The results of their 2008 report show for the nine straight years in a row, identity theft was the number one complaint. Not surprisingly, second was third party debt collection practices.

There were over 1.2 million complaints, relating to fraud, id theft and other types of complaints last year, the highest number of complaints filed by consumers ever. Overall all 50 states had an increase in complaints. Again, not surprising as it's well documented that crime increases when the economy tumbles. Identity thieves are technologically advanced and continue to find new and creative methods to steal our information.  

The one surprising figure in the report was the number of identity theft victims that did not file a police report -65% of them. The fact that that many victims didn't file police reports indicates a real need for further consumer education. It's important to realize that people who steal our identities are criminals and if a criminal commits a crime in our name, a police report indicating we reported a prior identity theft, would go along way in helping to prove our innocence before being dragged off to jail for a crime we didn't commit.

Here's a few of the key figures of the FTC's 100 page report,
(see link below for full PDF version)

1.Total number of complaints is the highest ever with more than 1.2 million registered in 2008. In 2007, just over 800,000 complaints were filed (50% increase).

2.Since 2000 complaints have increased  from 230,000 to more than 1.2 million (a 422% increase)

3.Of the FTC complaints during calendar year 2007 - 26% were identity theft complaints.

4.65% of all consumers filing with a complaint with the FTC never filed a police report.


1.Identity theft was the number one complaint category to the FTC for calendar year 2008;
with 26% of the overall complaints, followed by Third Party and Creditor Debt Collection (9%);
Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales (4%);
Internet Services (4%);
Foreign Money Offers and Counterfeit Check Scams (3%);
Credit Bureaus, Information Furnishers and Report Users (3%);
Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries (3%);
Television and Electronic Media (2%);
Banks and Lenders (2%); and Telecom Equipment and Mobile Services (2%).

2. 98% of the consumers reporting fraud also reported an amount paid.

3. A total of 643,195 FTC 2008 complaints are fraud-related. Consumers reported paying over $1.8 billion in those fraud complaints; the median amount paid was $440. Eighty-four percent of the consumers reporting fraud also reported an amount paid.

4.Colorado is the state with the highest per capita rate of reported fraud and other types of complaints, followed by Maryland and Nevada.

Identity Theft

1.Top five states stayed the same - Arizona, California, Florida, Texas and Nevada. Nevada moved from third to fifth while Florida moved from fifth to third.

2. All 50 states saw an increase in identity theft complaints. Highest were - Alaska (52.7%); Louisiana (42.8%); Mississippi (41.5%); Rhode Island (39.2%) and Alabama (34.8%).

3. Alaska's increase came after recording a 16.4% decrease during the previous year.
4. Smallest increases were reported by South Dakota (11%); Arizona (11.5%); Nevada (11.8%) and Missouri (11.9%).

5. Total complaints increased from 259,266 to 313,982 (21% increase). There was only a 5% increase during the previous year (2006-2007).

6. Since 2000, there has been a 422% increase in identity theft complaints.

7. From 2007 to 2008 consumers reported spending more than $1.8 billion as a result of identity theft and fraud - a 25% increase from the year prior.

8.Credit card fraud (20%) was the most common form of reported identity theft followed by government documents/benefits fraud (15%), employment fraud (15%), and phone or utilities fraud (13%). Other significant categories of identity theft reported by victims were bank fraud (11%) and loan fraud (4%).

9. Government documents/benefits fraud is now the second most common reported type of identity theft after credit card fraud. Fraudulent tax return-related identity theft, a subtype of government documents/benefits fraud, has increased nearly six percentage points since calendar year 2006.

10.There was a 24% increase in identity theft complaints from last year in the Miami, FL area. 

For full FTC Report click here

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1 Comment

emc has made my life miserable for years. as a single parent trying to keep my children in school and pay my billsi never got a settlement. i paid on a loan for over 20yrs.they misprined your amount.they never tell you your balance.go up on loan paymentcharge all kind of feeds.when you look around you got foreclosues paper in the mail.they are very abusive and ugly on the phone i know i paided to much on my loan so can you looked into it. please it will help me pay my family money back and help my children.thank you dorothy c. redmond p o box 246 lexington misissippi.39095 1-662-834-4628 345yks

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