For the 11th consecutive year, identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission's annual list of consumer complaints. Debt collection ranked second in 2010.
The FTC released the list on Tuesday. Of more than 1.3 million complaints received in 2010, 250,854 – or 19% – related to identity theft. Collection complaints totaled 144,159 complaints.
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 other complaints. In addition, the 50 metropolitan areas reporting the highest incidence of identity theft are noted.
The top consumer complaints were:
1. Identity Theft, 250,854, 19%
2. Debt Collection, 144,159, 11%
3. Internet Services, 65,565, 5%
4. Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries, 64,085, 5%
5. Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales, 60,205, 4%
6. Imposter Scams, 60,158, 4%
7. Internet Auctions, 56,107, 4%
8. Foreign Money/Counterfeit Check Scams, 43,866, 3%
9. Telephone and Mobile Services, 37,388, 3%
10. Credit Cards, 33,258, 2%
For the first time, “imposter scams” – where imposters posed as friends, family, respected companies or government agencies to get consumers to send them money – made the top 10. The FTC also has issued a new consumer alert, “Spotting an Imposter”, to help consumers avoid imposter scams. Among the warning signs, according to the FTC:
* They want you to wire money.
* They want you to pay to collect your winnings.
* They claim to be with a government agency.
* They claim to be someone you care about.
* They want you to act now.