Identity theft tops list of US consumer fraud complaints: report

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Identity theft topped a list of consumer fraud complaints filed last year with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a report released Wednesday showed.

“For the seventh year in a row, identity theft is the number one consumer complaint category,” the report said.

“Of 813,899 total complaints received in 2007, 258,427, or 32 percent, were related to identity theft,” it said.

Identity theft most often took the form of credit card fraud, which was involved in nearly one quarter of complaints, the report showed.

Where complainants reported how they had come into contact with the fraudsters, 64 percent said the Internet served as the initial meeting point.

Forty-nine percent of fraudsters used email to contact their eventual prey and 15 percent used the web, the report showed.

Americans lost more than 1.2 billion dollars (around 900 million euros) last year to fraudsters, the report said.

Since 1997, when the FTC began compiling the consumer fraud complaints report using data from its Consumer Sentinel database, it has logged 4.3 million complaints.

The FTC is a US federal agency that works to prevent unfair business practices.

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