FTC Releases List of Top Consumer Fraud Complaints in 2007

For Release

The FTC today released the list of top consumer fraud complaints received by the agency in 2007. The list, contained in the publication “Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data January-December 2007,” showed that for the eighth year in a row, identity theft is the number one consumer complaint category. Of 813,899 total complaints received in 2007, 258,427, or 32 percent, were related to identity theft.

The report breaks out complaint data on a state-by-state basis and also contains data about the 50 metropolitan areas reporting the highest per capita incidence of fraud and the 50 metropolitan areas reporting the highest incidence of identity theft.

The report states that credit card fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft at 23 percent, followed by utilities fraud at 18 percent, employment fraud at 14 percent, and bank fraud at 13 percent.

Consumers reported fraud losses totaling more than $1.2 billion; the median monetary loss per person was $349, the report states.

The top 20 complaint categories were:

Rank
Category
Complaints
%
1 Identity Theft 258,427 32
2 Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales 62,811 8
3 Internet Services 42,266 5
4 Foreign Money Offers 32,868 4
5 Prizes/Sweepstakes and Lotteries 32,162 4
6 Computer Equipment and Software 27,036 3
7 Internet Auctions 24,376 3
8 Health Care Claims 16,097 2
9 Travel, Vacations, and Timeshares 14,903 2
10 Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair 14,342 2
11 Investments 13,705 2
12 Magazines and Buyers Clubs 12,970 2
13 Business Opportunities and Work-at-Home Plans 11,362 1
14 Real Estate (Not Timeshares) 9,475 1
15 Office Supplies and Services 9,211 1
16 Telephone Services 8,155 1
17 Employ. Agencies/Job Counsel/Overseas Work 5,932 1
18 Debt Management/Credit Counseling 3,442 <1
19 Multi-Level Mktg./Pyramids/Chain Letters 3,092 <1
20 Charitable Solicitations 1,843 <1

The FTC collects consumer fraud complaints from more than 125 other organizations and makes them available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad via Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database. In 2007, the FTC received almost 140,000 more consumer fraud complaints than in 2006. These additional complaints came from numerous data contributors, primarily the Better Business Bureaus.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Claudia Bourne Farrell
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2181
STAFF CONTACT:
John Krebs
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2692