FTC Releases Top Complaint Categories for 2011

Identity Theft Once Again Tops the List

Statement Released by FTC 2/28/2012

The Federal Trade Commission today released its list of top consumer complaints received by the agency in 2011. For the 12th year in a row, identity theft complaints topped the list. Of more than 1.8 million complaints filed in 2011, 279,156 or 15%, were identity theft complaints. Nearly 25 percent of the identity theft complaints related to tax- or wage-related fraud.

The report breaks out complaint data on a state-by-state basis and also contains data about the 50 metropolitan areas reporting the highest per capita incidence of fraud and other complaints. In addition, the 50 metropolitan areas reporting the highest incidence of identity theft are noted.

The next nine complaint categories are:

Number

Percent

Debt Collection Complaints

180,928

10 percent

Prizes, Sweepstakes, and Lotteries

100,208

6 percent

Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales

98,306

5 percent

Banks and Lenders

89,341

5 percent

Internet Services

81,805

5 percent

Auto Related Complaints

77,435

4 percent

Imposter Scams

73,281

4 percent

Telephone and Mobile Services

70,024

4 percent

Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair

47,414

3 percent

There is a complete list of 30 categories.

The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad. Enforcers search the database to research cases, track targets, and identify victims.

“The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network is an incredibly powerful tool for law enforcers who are working to protect consumers and go after the bad guys,” said David Vladeck, Director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “It’s used by agencies across the country and around the world to enhance their enforcement efforts.”

Other federal and state law enforcement agencies contribute complaints to the Consumer Sentinel Network, including the U. S. Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Justice’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, and the Offices of the Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington Attorneys General. Private-sector organizations that contribute complaints include all U.S. and Canadian members of the Better Business Bureau, Western Union and Moneygram, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“The Consumer Sentinel Network is a treasure trove of information for law enforcers,” said Richard Cordray, Director of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “We plan to contribute consumer complaints we receive at the CFPB to the Network and urge other state and local law enforcers to join the Network, too.”

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About Bruce Demarest

Bruce Demarest is a Identity Theft Protection Specialist. He has designed and taught classes to educate individuals and businesses in identity theft risk management. The individuals have learned how to continuously monitor their financial identities from credit fraud, plus how to monitor their personal identifying information for unauthorized use. His business clients have become compliant with the federal & state privacy laws. He has conducted information security audits to identify their potential problems and has designed security policies, programs, and practices to address those problem areas.
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