Debt collection held steady as the second ranked consumer complaint reported to the Federal Trade Commission, according to the federal agency's 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, which was released Friday.

Complaints against collectors trailed only identity theft, which led the list for the 15th consecutive year. 

Imposter scams - typically involving con artists impersonating government officials or others – moved into third place, entering the top three complaint categories for the first time. The jump in imposter scams was led by a sharp increase in complaints about IRS and other government imposter scams.

The FTC's report includes national data and a state-by-state accounting of top complaint categories, as well as a listing of the metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints.

In 2014, 2,582,851 complaints were entered into the Consumer Sentinel Network.

Florida was the top source of complaints per capita both for identity theft, and fraud and other complaints. For fraud and other complaints, Georgia and Nevada had the second and third highest per capita complaint rates, while Washington and Oregon were in the second and third position for identity theft complaints.

"While identity theft remains a huge issue, consumers should also keep a close eye out for imposter scams," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Whether it’s pretending to be the IRS during tax season, or making false promises of a lottery win, scammers are increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to deceive consumers, but the FTC will continue working to shut these scammers down."

Tax-related identity theft was the most common form of identity theft reported, while the number of complaints from consumers about criminals impersonating IRS officials was nearly 24 times higher than in 2013.

The Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is produced annually using complaints received by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network. That includes not only complaints made directly by consumers to the FTC, but also complaints received by state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations and non-governmental organizations.

The complaint categories making up the top five for 2014 include: Identity Theft, 332,646 complaints, or 13% of the total; Debt Collection, 280,998, or 11%; Imposter Scams, 276,662, or 11%; Telephone and Mobile Services, 171,809, or 7%; and Banks and Lenders, 128,107, or 5%. 

Rounding out the top 10 include: Prize, Sweepstakes and Lotteries; Auto-Related Complaints; Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales; Television and Electronic Media; and Internet Services. 

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.