FTC Logs more than $1.6 Billion in Fraud Complaints in One Year

Sunday, March 16, 2014

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.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January 2013-December 2013 (pdf)

Fraud Complaints Rise, Led by Angst over Banks and Government Benefits (by Ken Broder, AllGov)


MARK TILYOU 7 years ago
I am being contacted daily and some days multiple days by a computer service company that I did business with one time several years ago and now they call my cell home or office. They go with several names- comm services, secure pro, comm secure, and many others all going to the line I need access to your computer now as you have multiple viruses and making your computer slow and open to fraud. They all have Indian dialect and some how have a call list and I have asked them to stop, to never call again, even that I am going to report them to the authorities. Nothing has worked. I am disrupted daily and have at times interrupted patient care to take their call. Is there any report of this company or one of its family of companies. Is there anything that can be done to stop this? This has gone on for several years! I would appreciate any help your could give me, or any advice you could give me to make this stop? Thank you.

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