Top 10 Consumer Complaint Categories For 2012 To FTC

February 26, 2013
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FTC Releases Top 10 Complaint Categories for 2012

Identity Theft Tops List for 13th Consecutive Year in Report of National Consumer Complaints

Identity theft is once more the top complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission, which has released its 2012 annual report of complaints. 2012 marks the first year in which the FTC received more than 2 million complaints overall, and 369,132, or 18 percent, were related to identity theft. Of those, more than 43 percent related to tax- or wage-related fraud.

The report gives national data, as well as a state-by-state accounting of top complaint categories and a listing of the metropolitan areas that generated the most complaints. This includes the top 50 metropolitan areas for both fraud complaints and identity theft complaints.

The remainder of complaint categories making up the top 10 are:

Number Percent
Debt collection 199,721 10 percent
Banks and Lenders 132,340 6 percent
Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales 115,184 6 percent
Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries 98,479 5 percent
Impostor Scams 82,896 4 percent
Internet Services 81,438 4 percent
Auto-Related Complaints 78,062 4 percent
Telephone and Mobile Services 76,783 4 percent
Credit Cards 51,550 3 percent

A complete list of all complaint categories is available on page six of the report.

The FTC enters complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database that is available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country. Agencies use the data to research cases, identify victims and track possible targets.

Other federal and state law enforcement agencies contribute to Consumer Sentinel, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the offices of 14 state attorneys general. Private-sector organizations contributing data include all Better Business Bureaus in the U.S. and Canada, PrivacyStar, Publishers Clearing House and others.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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