Security & Fraud

Debt Collection Tops ID Theft On FTC Complaint List

Among the key subjects of complaints that washed over the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network last year included debt collection, identity theft and scams related to impostors.

The FTC said Tuesday (March 1) that the data tied to debt collection remains skewed a bit amid the fact that complaints were boosted by a “surge” of contributions from a data service focused on collecting complaints via mobile app (and, by extension, calls that come in through mobile devices).

Identity theft, at the second spot in top complaints, jumped more than 47 percent year over year in 2015, with a chief impetus being tax identity theft. The identity theft designation has been the top complaint category for the past 15 years, said the FTC.

The FTC said the Consumer Sentinel Network data tallied complaints made directly to the organization, with additional complaints given over to state and federal law enforcement entities, nongovernmental organizations and other firms. In total, through the past year, the network gathered more than 3 million complaints, with Florida, Georgia and Michigan at the top of the state list for fraud complaints. The category of identity theft was seen most often in Missouri, Connecticut and Florida.

In a statement that accompanied the FTC release of the state-by-state data, FTC Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica Rich stated: “We recognize that identity theft and unlawful debt collection practices continue to cause significant harm to many consumers. Steps like the recent upgrade to IdentityTheft.gov and our leadership of a nationwide initiative to combat unlawful debt collection practices are critical to our ongoing work to protect consumers from these harms.”

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