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HL Chronicle of Data Protection Privacy & Information Security News & Trends
Posted in Consumer Privacy

FTC Report Indicates That Almost One in Five Consumer Complaints Involves Identity Theft

This week, the Federal Trade Commission released its 2012 Annual Report of consumer complaints.  For the thirteenth year in a row, identity theft was the number one complaint category, underscoring consumers’ continued focus on identity theft concerns.  Identity theft complaints accounted for 18% of the overall complaints and far more than any other complaint category.

Within the identity theft category, government documents and benefits fraud was the most common type, accounting for 46% of the complaints, followed by credit card fraud (13%), phone or utilities fraud (10%), and bank fraud (6%).  Employment-related fraud accounted for 5% of the identity theft complaints, while loan fraud led to 2% of those complaints.  Although instances of employment-related identity theft complaints have declined over the past few years, the percentage of identity theft complaints related to government documents and benefits fraud has more than doubled since 2010.

The Annual Report includes national data and state-by-state complaint information.  According to the Annual Report, the FTC received more than 2 million complaints during the year.  Florida is the state with the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft complaints, followed by Georgia and California.

Despite regulators’ recent attention on Internet and mobile services, those two categories only accounted for 4% of the total complaints each.