Identity theft continues to be the top complaint the Federal Trade Commission receives from consumers, according to an FTC report on complaints it received last year.
Identity theft has held the No. 1 spot for the last 15 years, the FTC reported, while noting a large increase in the number of complaints about so-called “imposter” scams.
Imposter scams – in which con artists impersonate government officials or others – moved into third place on the list of consumer complaints for the first time, according to the FTC’s 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.
The increase in imposter scams was led by a sharp jump in complaints about IRS and other government imposter scams. Debt collection held steady as the second-most-reported complaint.
“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.”
The Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is produced annually using complaints received by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network. That includes not only complaints made directly by consumers to the FTC, but also complaints received by state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations and non-governmental organizations.
The report includes not only national data but also a state-by-state accounting of top complaint categories and a listing of the metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints. In 2014, 2,582,851 complaints were entered into the Consumer Sentinel Network. 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.
If you feel you may have been a victim of identity theft, please contact us and we’ll be happy to work with you to help protect your identity.