Compliance Blog

Mar 17, 2014

Number One, Most Common National Consumer Complaint is Identity Theft

Written by Shari R. Pogach, Regulatory Paralegal

Merchant data breaches and data security have made recent headlines so it’s likely no surprise that according to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) annual report, identify theft continues to top the list of its top 10 consumer complaints.  The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January to December 2013 reports the agency received more than two million complaints overall, of which 290,056 or 14 percent, were identity theft related.  

Thirty percent of the identity theft complaints were related to taxes or wages with twenty percent of the complaints reported by 20-29 year olds.  The FTC’s report details national data, as well as a state-by-state accounting of top complaint categories and a listing of the metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints. Florida is the state with the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft, followed by Georgia and California. 

Complaints to the FTC are entered into a secure online database that is available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country. Agencies use this data to research cases, identify victims and track possible targets.  

The director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection notes that anyone of any age is vulnerable to identity theft and as it is the Commission’s most common consumer complaint, consumer education is a top priority for the agency.  Some FTC resources include: 

Helpful information to have handy and be able to give someone who thinks they may be a victim of possible identity theft.