February 26, 2013, 3:15 PM — Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission now for 13 years running.
The FTC's annual look at its Consumer Sentinel Network database of complaints found that 2012 was the first year the agency got more than 2 million complaints overall, and 369,132, or 18%, were related to identity theft. Of those, more than 43% related to tax- or wage-related fraud, the agency stated.
A closer look at the identity theft trend finds:
" Government documents/benefits fraud (46%) was the most common form of reported identity theft, followed by credit card fraud (13%), phone or utilities fraud (10%), and bank fraud (6%). Other significant categories of identity theft reported by victims were employment-related fraud (5%) and loan fraud (2%).
" Complaints about government documents/benefits fraud increased 27 percentage points since calendar year 2010; tax or wage-related fraud accounted for the growth in this area, with 43.4% of identity theft victims reporting this problem in 2012. Employment-related fraud complaints, in contrast, have declined 6 percentage points since calendar year 2010.
" Forty-two percent of identity theft complainants reported whether they contacted law enforcement. Of those victims, 68% notified a police department. Fifty-four percent of these indicated a report was taken.
" Florida is the state with the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft complaints, followed by Georgia and California.
Rounding out the Top 10 most complained about activities are: