Identity theft tops list of consumer complaints

Published On: Feb 27 2013 01:42:50 PM EST

The Federal Trade Commission has released its top ten list of consumer complaints from 2012.

For the 13th year in a row, identity theft tops that list.

The FTC says it received more than 369,000 complaints about identity theft, which accounted for 18 percent of all the complaints it received last year.

The commission says there are three basic types of ID theft related to taxes and wages, an area where complaints are booming.

It says the most common is when the scammer, using your social security number, applies for an income tax refund in your name.

Thieves also use stolen social security numbers to create fake dependents to boost a fake refund.

They also use stolen social security numbers to get a job.

FTC's Top 10 Complaint Categories for 2012:

  • Identity theft: 369,132 complaints (18 percent)
  • Debt collection: 199,721 complaints (10 percent)
  • Banks and lenders: 132,340 complaints (6 percent)
  • Shop-at-home and catalog sales: 115,184 complaints (6 percent)
  • Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries: 98,479 complaints (5 percent)
  • Impostor scams: 82,896 complaints (4 percent)
  • Internet services: 81,438 complaints (4 percent)
  • Auto-related complaints: 78,062 complaints (4 percent)
  • Telephone and mobile services: 76,783 complaints (4 percent)
  • Credit cards: 51,550 complaints (3 percent)

"This report illustrates that we still have a huge problem with fraud in this country," said John Breyault, director of, run by the National Consumers League. "It's more important than ever that people educate themselves and learn how to spot the warning signs of fraud."

 You can file a complaint with the FTC online.


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