NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It is by far the most-registered consumer grievance, and while all ages are victims, 20% of complaints are reported by adults aged 20-29. In an annual report by the Federal Trade Commission ranking consumer complaints, identity theft continues to top the list as American consumers report losing over $1.6 billion to fraud in 2013.
"Americans of all ages are vulnerable to identity theft, and it remains the most common consumer complaint to the Commission," says Jessica Rich, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. "We urge consumers to visit FTC.gov/idtheft for tips to prevent and mitigate the damage from identity theft."
The FTC logged more than two million complaints last year, with more than 290,000 -- 14% of the total -- related to identity theft. Nearly one third (30%) were tax- or wage-related, perennial leaders in identity theft complaints. One in five (20%) of all complaints were filed by adults 20-29, the age group most victimized.
The top 10 consumer complaints for 2013 were:
- 1. Identity theft (290,056 complaints, 14% of the total)
- 2. Debt collection (204,644, 10%)
- 3. Banks and lenders (152,707, 7%)
- 4. Imposter scams (121,720, 6%)
- 5. Telephone and mobile services (116,261, 6%)
- 6. Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries (89,944, 4%)
- 7. Auto related complaints (82,701, 4%)
- 8. Shop-at-home and catalog sales (66,024, 3%)
- 9. Television and electronic media (53,087, 3%)
- 10. Advance payment for credit services (50,422, 2%)
The report includes national data, as well state reports of complaint categories and the top 50 metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints.
Florida has the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft and fraud complaints, followed by Georgia and California for identity theft complaints, and Nevada and Georgia for fraud and other complaints.
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet