Earlier this week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its annual report of the leading complaints filed by consumers. During 2011, identity theft (again) led the list of complaints. This is the 12th consecutive year that identity theft has led the list:
|Type of Complaint or Scam ||Number||% Of Total|
|1. Identity Theft||279,156||15%|
|2. Debt Collection
|3. Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries
|4. Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales
|5. Banks and Lenders
|6. Internet Services
|7. Auto Related
|8. Imposter Scams
|9. Telephone and Mobile Services
|10. Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair
Other notable findings:
- Fraud: 990k of the 1.8 million complaints were fraud-related. 68% of consumers reported a fraud complaint where they paid an amount. The total amount paid was $1.5 billion, and the median amount paid was $537. 43% of consumers were contacted via email. The five states with the highest per-capita fraud reported were Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, and Virginia.
- Identity Theft: Government documents/benefits fraud (27%) was the most common form reported, followed by credit card fraud (14%), phone or utilities fraud (13%), bank fraud (9%), and employment fraud (8%). 45% of consumers reported they contacted local law enforcement. The five states with the highest per-capita identity theft were Florida, Georgia, California, Arizona, and Texas.
- Countries: the top five countries were the USA (80%), Canada (4%), the United Kingdom (4%), Nigeria (2%), and Jamaica (2%).
- Age: consumers that filed complaints during 2011 were ages 50-59 (23%), followed by ages 40-49 (20%), ages 30-39 (17%), ages 60-69 (15%), and ages 20-29 (15%).
- Military: members from all four branches plus the Coast Guard reported complaints. For this group, identity theft ranked as the number one complaint, followed by Debt Collection. Mortgage Foreclosure Relief and Debt Management ranked as fourth for this group, compared to 13 for all consumers.
During 2011, consumers submitted about 1.8 million complaints, an increase of 24% over 2010. All complaints submitted by consumers are collected in the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network database, which contains 30 different categories of complaints. Download the 2011 FTC Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book (Adobe PDF).