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Identity Theft Remains Top Fraud Complaint

Thirty-nine percent of all complaints filed in 2004 were related to identity theft, which is a 1% decline from 2003, according to a newly released FTC report.

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.

An award winning writer and journalist, for more than 20 years George Hulme has written about business, technology, and IT security topics. He currently freelances for a wide range of publications, and is security blogger at InformationWeek.com. View Full Bio

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