Identity Theft

Explore Data with the FTC - Find out about identity theft statistics in your state and nationallyIdentity theft often tops the list of consumer complaints that are reported to the FTC and other enforcement agencies. Identity theft can be perpetrated using such low-tech methods as purse snatching or “dumpster diving,” or high-tech techniques like deceptive “phishing” e-mails or malicious software known as “spyware.” Identity theft is a crime. While the FTC does not have criminal jurisdiction, it supports the criminal investigation and prosecution of identity theft by serving as a clearinghouse for identity theft complaints, part of the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel complaint database. In addition to housing ID theft complaints, Sentinel offers participating law enforcement agencies a variety of tools to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of identity theft. These include information to help agencies coordinate effective joint action; sample indictments; and tools to refresh investigative data through programmed data searches.