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    Edelman, Combs, Latturner, & Goodwin, LLC

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    Chicago, IL 60603

    info@edcombs.com
    Phone: 312-739-4200
    Fax: 312-419-0379


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    Identity Theft Tops FTC’s Consumer Complaint Categories Again in 2014

    Identity Theft Tops FTC’s Consumer Complaint Categories Again in 2014

    Agency Also Notes a Large Increase in Complaints About “Imposter” Scams

    FOR RELEASE

    Identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s national ranking of consumer complaints for the 15thconsecutive year, while the agency also recorded a large increase in the number of complaints about so-called “imposter” scams, according to the FTC’s 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, which was released today.

    Imposter scams – in which con artists impersonate government officials or others – moved into third place on the list of consumer complaints, entering the top three complaint categories for the first time. The increase in imposter scams was led by a sharp jump in complaints about IRS and other government imposter scams. Debt collection held steady as the second-most-reported complaint.

    “While identity theft remains a huge issue, consumers should also keep a close eye out for imposter scams,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Whether it’s pretending to be the IRS during tax season, or making false promises of a lottery win, scammers are increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to deceive consumers, but the FTC will continue working to shut these scammers down.”

    The Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is produced annually using complaints received by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network. That includes not only complaints made directly by consumers to the FTC, but also complaints received by state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations and non-governmental organizations.

    The report includes not only national data but also a state-by-state accounting of top complaint categories and a listing of the metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints. In 2014, 2,582,851 complaints were entered into the Consumer Sentinel Network. Florida was the top source of complaints per capita both for identity theft, and fraud and other complaints. For fraud and other complaints, Georgia and Nevada had the second and third highest per capita complaint rates, while Washington and Oregon were in the second and third position for identity theft complaints.

    The complaint categories making up the top 10 are:

    Number Percent
    Identity Theft 332,646 13 percent
    Debt Collection 280,998 11 percent
    Imposter Scams 276,662 11 percent
    Telephone and Mobile Services 171,809 7 percent
    Banks and Lenders 128,107 5 percent
    Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries 103,579 4 percent
    Auto-Related Complaints 88,334 3 percent
    Shop-At-Home and Catalog Sales 71,377 3 percent
    Television and Electronic Media 48,640 2 percent
    Internet Services 46,039 2 percent