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FTC Reports Identity Thefts at Record High

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its annual report on February 13, 2008 called "Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data 2007", which says that there has been an enormous increase in identity thefts, as reported by DNonline on February 15, 2008.

The report reveals complaint data on various states and contains data on highest per capita of fraud happening in 50 metropolitan areas. It also reports the highest number of identity thefts taking place in 50 metropolitan areas.

As per the FTC report, identity theft topped the list of complaints for the seventh successive year. The identity thefts claim 32% of the complaints filed with FTC, which includes stealing mail, digging through the trash, and creating fraud Web pages to hack personal information.

According to the FTC, out of 810,000 consumer fraud cases reported by it, more than 258,000 cases were of identity theft. The report also revealed that the most common form of identity theft was credit card fraud, which accounted for 23% of the reported cases. Second position in the list was of utilities fraud which comprised of 18% of the cases. Employment fraud was recorded to be at 14%, banking fraud at 13%, and other online crimes were reported at 32%.

The fraud complaints lodged with FTC in 2007 witnessed a hike of 140,000 consumer fraud complaints as compared to the data of 2006. Multiple data contributors, primarily the Better Business Bureaus (BBB), sent these extra complaints. In 2007, consumer swindles (exclusive of identity theft) cost consumers around $1.24 Billion, a slight rise from $1.18 Billion last year.

FTC lists all the fraud complaints from over 125 organizations. It provides these complaints to more than 1,600 criminal and civil law enforcement agencies through a secured online database, Consumer Sentinel. Out of the identity theft complaints lodged with FTC from the US in 2007, around 28% of the victims are in the age group of 18 to 29 years.

Vice President, Operations, Ball State Federal Credit Union, Dave Abernathy, commented that students and those older to this group are equally hit by the identity theft, but students like to take risk. He added that as younger students are technologically more advanced, they try to experiment with the situation, reported Dnonline on February 15, 2008.

Related article: FTC Reaches Million-Dollar Settlement For Spyware

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