UPDATE 1-Identity theft again leads US top fraud complaints-FTC

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

Of the 2 million consumer complaints that the commission
received last year, 290,056, or about 14 percent, were related
to identity theft, the FTC said.

“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 do
not own, make withdrawals from a victim’s bank account or take
out loans in the victim’s name, among other kinds of fraud.

Florida had the highest per capita rate of fraud, with 804.9
people reporting a problem out of every 100,000 in population,
the FTC said in its report for 2013. North Dakota had the lowest
rate of reported fraud.

The average victim lost $2,294, according to the FTC, which
said that 61 percent of those defrauded in 2013 put a dollar
value on their losses.

A total of 43 percent of fraud victims were reached through
email, while 21 percent were telephoned and another 20 percent
were defrauded through a website, the FTC said.


While identity fraud was the top source of consumer
complaints at 14 percent in 2013, debt collection (10 percent)
was second. Complaints were such things as a collector either
tried to collect a debt that was not owed, harassed a debtor or
made false statements about 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 does not exist,
accounted for 6 percent of the reported fraud cases.

Complaints about telephone and mobile services were also at
6 percent each, including such problems as 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-idUSL1N0LW1WN20140227

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