Identity Theft Tops Federal Trade Commission List of Top Consumer Complaints in 2010

A list of top consumer complaints received in 2010 by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, showed that identity theft was the number one consumer complaint category for the 11th year in a row, with 250,854 – or 19 percent – of the 1,339,265 complaints received by the FTC related to identity theft.

The FTC’s ‘Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) Data Book for January-December 2010’ report broke down complaint data on a state-by-state basis and showed that, after identity theft, debt collection complaints were in second place with 144,159 – or 11 percent – of the complaints. The top consumer complaints of 2010 according to the FTC report were:

  • Identity Theft: 250,854 Complaints (19 percent)
  • Debt Collection: 144,159 Complaints (11 percent)
  • Internet Services: 65,565 Complaints (5 percent)
  • Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries: 64,085 Complaints (5 percent)
  • Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales: 60,205 Complaints (4 percent)
  • Imposter Scams: 60,158 Complaints (4 percent)
  • Internet Auctions: 56,107 Complaint (4 percent)
  • Foreign Money/Counterfeit Check Scams: 43,866 Complaints (3 percent)
  • Telephone and Mobile Services: 37,388 Complaints (3 percent)
  • Credit Cards: 33,258 Complaints (2 percent)

The FTC report also found that “imposter scams” – where imposters posed as friends, family, respected companies, or government agencies to get consumers to send them money – made the top 10 list for the first time. The FTC issued a new consumer alert called “Spotting an Imposter” to help consumers be aware of the signs of an impostor scam:

  • Impostors want you to wire money.
  • Impostors want you to pay to collect your winnings.
  • Impostors claim to be with a government agency.
  • Impostors claim to be someone you care about.
  • Impostors want you to act now.

The FTC defines identity theft as occurring when personally identifying information (PII) such as names, Social Security numbers, or credit card numbers of one person are used without permission by another person to commit fraud or other crimes. More information on identity theft may be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/.

For more information about identity theft, read articles tagged ‘identity theft’ on the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Blog at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/identity-theft/.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco, CA area with a mission to help both employers and employees maintain safe workplaces, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), please visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@ESRcheck.com. 

Sources:

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/03/topcomplaints.shtm

http://www.ftc.gov/sentinel/reports/sentinel-annual-reports/sentinel-cy2010.pdf

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt111.shtm 

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/