February 01, 2005

Identity theft continues to be the top fraud-related complaint, according to government statistics released Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission.

The total number of complaints rose 17%, from 542,378 in 2003 to 635,173 in 2004, according to the report, National And State Trends In Fraud And Identity Theft.

According to the report, 39% of all complaints filed in 2004 were related to identity theft, which is a 1% decline from 2003.

Another top fraud-related complaint was Internet auctions, which garnered 16% of the total number of complaints filed last year. Others include shop-at-home/catalog sales (8%), Internet services and computer complaints (6%), and foreign money offers (6%).

Credit-card fraud topped the list at 28% as the most common type of identity theft, followed by phone and utility related fraud (19%), bank fraud (18%), and employment fraud (13%).

The FTC says consumers reported total fraudulent losses of $547 million last year, with the median loss at $259.

The complete report can be found here.

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