Identity Theft Biggest Complaint for Consumers
Identity theft was the biggest source of consumer complaints for 2014, according to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission.
ID Theft accounted for 13% of the total complaints received by the FTC last year. Debt collection and imposter scams each amounted to 11% of the complaints.
The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) contains all the consumer complaint information for the FTC. The number of complaints have nearly doubled from 2010 to 2014. It shows over 10 million complaints during that time period, with 2.5 million coming from just 2014. 60% of the complaints for 2014 were related to fraud in some way, not including the 13% for identity theft.
Surprisingly, credit cards were not the biggest source of identity theft complaints in the CSN. Government documents and benefits fraud was most commonly reported, representing 39% of identity theft complaints. Credit cards made up 17% of ID theft complaints, followed by phone fraud at 13% and bank fraud at 8%.
The FTC reports that 32% of identity theft victims contacted law enforcement after the incident, and 88% of those people had reports taken.
Even though the reports for identity theft are still high, they have decreased as a percentage of complaints. In 2012, identity theft represented 17% of the complaints, compared to the current 13%. This was offset by an increase in fraud complaints, moving from 53% to 60% in two years.
The top ten categories of complaints in 2014:
1. Identity Theft
2. Debt Collection
3. Impostor Scams
4. Telephone and Mobile Services
5. Banks and Lenders
6. Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries
7. Auto-Related Complaints
8. Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales
9. Television and Electronic Media
10. Internet Services