Identity theft leads top consumer complaints in US – FTC


WASHINGTON Feb 27 (Reuters) – The seemingly intractable
problem of identity theft once again led the list of top
consumer complaints in 2013, with U.S. consumers reporting that
they lost $1.6 billion to various types of fraud, the Federal
Trade Commission said in a report released Thursday.

Of the 2 million consumer complaints that the commission
received last year, 290,056, or 14 percent, were related to
identity theft, the FTC said. Florida had the highest per capita
rate of identity theft.

“This (identify theft) has topped the list since at least
2006,” said David Torok, director of the FTC’s Division of
Planning and Information.

Identity thieves can make purchases on credit cards they
don’t own or make withdrawals from the victim’s bank account,
among other kinds of fraud.

Ten percent of consumer complaints to the FTC, or 204,644,
were related to debt collection such as a collector trying to
collect a debt that wasn’t owed, harassing a debtor or making
false statements about the debt.

Another 7 percent of complaints were related to banks and
lenders, such as payday loan problems or unexpected overdraft
charges. Imposter scams, such as people claiming to be from the
government and demanding payment of a debt that doesn’t exist,
was at 6 percent.

Complaints about telephone and mobile services were also at
6 percent each, including unexpected charges on mobile or phone
bills.

Rounding out the top 10 consumer complaints were concerns
about prizes and lotteries (4 percent), auto-related complaints
(4 percent), shop-at-home and catalog sales (3 percent),
television and electronic media (3 percent) and advance payment
for credit services (2 percent).

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/27/usa-ftc-identitytheft-idUSL1N0LW1FD20140227

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