FTC Logs more than $1.6 Billion in Fraud Complaints in One Year
You know that Nigerian prince who says he’ll share his fortune with you if you’ll just pay a little bit of money to finance the funds transfer? That “prince” and other con men scammed more than $1.6 billion in 2013, according to a report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This does not include identity theft complaints. Victims lost an average of $2,294 in scams.
Forty percent of fraud victims were initially contacted by telephone and 33% by email.
The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN), a database the FTC maintains for the use of law-enforcement agencies, reports that identity theft was the top crime reported, with 14% of the 2.1 million complaints. Florida had the highest per-capita fraud complaints, and it wasn’t close. There were 804.9 fraud complaints per 100,000 population in the Sunshine State. The next highest rate of complaints came from Nevada, with 622.0 per 100,000. California had the most number of complaints in the nation, with 200,870
Florida also led the nation in per-capita identity theft complaints, with Georgia and California following at a distance. California was the overall leader in identity theft complaints with 40,404. Identity theft was defined by CSN as the appropriation of personal identifying information to commit fraud or theft.
Debt collection was the second leading category of fraud at 10% of complaints. According to CSN, those complaints involve repeated or continuous calling; falsely representing the amount or status of debt, failing to send written notice of the debt, falsely threatening suit and other violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Identity theft complaints were down significantly from 2012 numbers. In 2012, there were 369,145 such complaints, compared with 290,056 in 2013, a 21% decrease.
And what about that email from the Nigerian prince? Foreign money offers and counterfeit check scams accounted for 24,752, or about 1% of fraud complaints in 2013.
To Learn More:
Fraud Complaints Rise, Led by Angst over Banks and Government Benefits (by Ken Broder, AllGov)
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