FTC: Identity Theft Is Consumers’ Top Complaint; Imposters on the Rise

For the 15th year straight, the Federal Trade Commission said identity theft was the year's biggest consumer complaint. See what other scams made the list.

FTC: Identity Theft Is Consumers’ Top Complaint; Imposters on the Rise Photo (cc) by B Rosen

Identity theft has been making headlines for nearly two decades, and Americans are fed up. Unfortunately, the crime has shown no signs of letting up anytime soon.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft was consumers’ biggest complaint of the year in 2014. But that’s nothing new. ID theft has topped the consumer complaint list for the past 15 years.

The FTC received nearly 333,000 identity theft complaints in 2014, 13 percent of their total complaints. Americans also report an increase in the number of imposter scams.

“While identity theft remains a huge issue, consumers should also keep a close eye out for imposter scams,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Whether it’s pretending to be the IRS during tax season, or making false promises of a lottery win, scammers are increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to deceive consumers, but the FTC will continue working to shut these scammers down.”

These complaints and more are detailed in the newly released Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, which includes complaints received by the FTC, as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations and non-governmental organizations.

In total, about 2.6 million complaints were received and logged into the network data book in 2014. Some states had more than their fair share of fraudulent activity, the FTC said.

Florida was the top source of complaints per capita both for identity theft and fraud and other complaints. For fraud and other complaints, Georgia and Nevada had the second and third highest per capita complaint rates, while Washington and Oregon were in the second and third position for identity theft complaints.

Other top consumer complaints received by the FTC were issues with debt collectors, phone and cable companies and banks.

There are ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. Click here for 10 great tips.

Have you had any experience with identity theft? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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