In a press release dated Feb. 26, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced publication of its 2012 annual report of consumer complaints. Last year was the first year the FTC received more than 2 million complaints.
The report lists complaints in 30 categories. Here are the FTC’s Top 10 Complaint Categories and their percent of total complaints received:
Identity Theft 18%
Debt Collection 10%
Banks and Lenders 6 %
Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales 6%
Prizes, Sweepstakes, and Lotteries 5%
Impostor Scams 4%
Internet Scams 4%
Auto-Related Complaints 4%
Telephone and Mobile Services 4%
Credit Cards 3%
Identity Theft has been the top national consumer complaint category for the past 13 years. The report also gives state-by-state top complaint categories. In Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky, the top complaint category for 2012 was Debt Collection.
Another interesting fact from the report is that Americans lost a total of $1,491,656,241 to fraud in 2012 which is actually down from $1,544,849,568 in 2011. Other details are given in the report such as how consumers were contacted, how they paid, how identity theft victims’ information was misused, etc.
Any complaints the FTC receives are entered into a secure database called the Consumer Sentinel Network. Law enforcement agencies have access to the database. Federal and state law enforcement agencies contribute to the Network as well as all Better Business Bureaus in the U.S. and Canada, Publishers Clearing House and a few other private sector organizations.
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