Late last month, the Federal Trade Commission released their most recent annual report of consumer concerns. The list compiles the most common complaints received by the organization in a secure database called The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN), which is only available to law enforcement officials.
The CSN was begun in 1997 in order to collect and identify theft complaints and currently holds more than 9 million complaints, all of which are no older than five years due to regular purges of older data. These complaints are all unverified consumer reports and are not based on a survey or other data gathering technique. For the calendar year of 2013, the CSN received more than 2 million consumer complaints.
Identity theft in 2013
For the 14th consecutive year of the report, Identity theft was the most common complaint, receiving over 290,000 of the complaints or 14% of the 2 million totals received. Of the 290,000 identity theft complaints, 30% were tax- or wage-related, which is the largest category within identity theft complaints.
The overall numbers of identity theft complaints are down from the prior year where the FTC said they received 369,132, or 18%, of the overall complaints.
In the list, the state of Florida was reported to have the highest per capita rate of identity theft and fraud complaints. The FTC also included the states of Georgia and California as tops in identity theft complaints, while the states of Nevada and Georgia were tops in fraud and other types of complaints.
Top 10 complaints
The top 10 complaints as detailed by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network are as follows:
- Identity theft at 14%
- Debt collection at 10%
- Banks and lenders at 7%
- Imposter scams at 6%
- Telephone and mobile services at 6%
- Prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries at 4%
- Automobile-related at 4%
- Shop-at-home and catalogue sales at 4%
- Television and electronic media at 3%
- Advanced payments for credit services at 2%