Identity theft, online fraud lead FTC top 20 consumer complaints in 2007

The Federal Trade Commission today released the list of top consumer fraud complaints for 2007 and showed that for the seventh year in a row, identity theft is the number one problem.

Of 813,899 total complaints received in 2007, 258,427, or 32%, were related to identity theft. Consumers reported fraud losses totaling more than $1.2 billion; the median monetary loss per person was $349, the report states.  

The report also breaks out complaint data on a state-by-state basis and the metropolitan areas with the highest per capita rates of reported consumer fraud complaints are Albany-Lebanon, Oregon; Greeley, Colorado; and Napa, California.  

The report states that credit card fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft at 23%, followed by utilities fraud at 18%, employment fraud at 14%, and bank fraud at 13%. Some 64% of fraud complaints where the company's method of initial contact was reported indicate Internet solicitations - electronic mail at 49% and web at 15%.  

The FTC collects consumer fraud complaints from more than 125 other organizations and makes them available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad via Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database.  Consumer Sentinel contains over 4.3 million fraud and identity theft complaints. In 2007, the FTC received almost 140,000 more consumer fraud complaints than in 2006. These additional complaints came from numerous data contributors, primarily the Better Business Bureaus.  

 The top 20 complaint categories were:  

Rank Category Complaints

1. Identity Theft 258,427

2. Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales 62,811

3. Internet Services 42,266  

4. Foreign Money Offers 32,868

5. Prizes/Sweepstakes and Lotteries 32,162  

6. Computer Equipment and Software 27,036  

7. Internet Auctions 24,376  

8. Health Care Claims 16,097

9. Travel, Vacations, and Timeshares 14,903

10. Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair 14,342

11. Investments 13,705

12. Magazines and Buyers Clubs 12,970

13. Business Opportunities and Work-at-Home Plans 11,362

14. Real Estate (Not Timeshares) 9,475  

15. Office Supplies and Services 9,211

16. Telephone Services 8,155

17. Employ. Agencies/Job Counsel/Overseas Work 5,932

18. Debt Management/Credit Counseling 3,442

19. Multi-Level Mktg./Pyramids/Chain Letters 3,092

20. Charitable Solicitations 1,843  

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