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Identity Theft Tops FTC's Complaint List for 2012

February 26, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last year, identity theft once again topped the Federal Trade Commission’s list of top consumer complaints, which the agency issued this week. The FTC also reported that 2012 marked the first year it received more than two million complaints overall, with 18 percent of them related to identify theft.

Of the 369,132 identity theft-related complaints received last year, more than 43 percent were related to tax- or wage-related fraud, according to the FTC’s report, which provides national and state-by-state data. The report also lists the metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints, including the Top 50 metropolitan areas for both fraud and identity theft complaints.

The following are the nine other complaint categories making up the Top 10 complaints of 2012:




Debt collection


10 percent

Banks and Lenders


6 percent

Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales


6 percent

Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries


5 percent

Impostor Scams


4 percent

Internet Services


4 percent

Auto-Related Complaints


4 percent

Telephone and Mobile Services


4 percent

Credit Cards


3 percent

A complete list of all complaint categories is available on page six of the report.

The FTC enters complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database that is available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country. Agencies use the data to research cases, identify victims and track possible targets.

Other federal and state law enforcement agencies contribute to Consumer Sentinel, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the offices of 14 state attorneys general. Private-sector organizations contributing data include all Better Business Bureaus in the U.S. and Canada, PrivacyStar, Publishers Clearing House and others.


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