Identity theft continues to be consumers' top complaint, and ID theft-related complaints are on the rise. Consumers filed 246,570 total identity theft-related complaints in 2004, up from 215,093 in 2003, according to government statistics released in February by the Federal Trade Commission. Bank-related identity theft comprised 18 percent of all ID theft complaints.
The total number of consumer complaints rose 17 percent, from 542,378 in 2003 to 635,173 in 2004, according to the report, "National and State Trends in Fraud & Identity Theft." Identity theft complaints accounted for 39 percent of all complaints filed in 2004, which represents a 1 percent decline from 2003. Credit card fraud topped the list at 28 percent as the most common type of ID theft, followed by phone- and utility-related ID theft (19 percent), bank fraud and employment fraud (13 percent).
The top fraud-related complaint category was Internet auctions, which garnered 16 percent of the total number of complaints filed last year. Others include shop-at-home/catalog sales (8 percent), Internet services and computer complaints (6 percent), and foreign money offers (6 percent).
The FTC says consumers reported fraudulent losses totalling more than $547 million last year; the median monetary loss was $259.
This article originally appeared in InformationWeek.