Identity Theft Tops FTC’s Consumer Complaint Categories

For the 15th consecutive year, identity theft has topped the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) national ranking of consumer complaints.  Identity theft represented 13% of all complaints in 2014 according to the FTC's 2014 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.  Identity theft has held the FTC’s No. 1 spot for 15 years.  The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database provides law enforcement officials across the country with access to consumer complaints in their jurisdictions.

According to Javelin Strategy & Research’s March 2015 Identity Fraud Study, fraudsters stole $16 billion from 12.7 million U.S. consumers last year.  The study found that two-thirds of identity fraud victims in 2014 had previously received a data breach notification in the same year.

One only needs to examine PRC’s Chronology of Data Breaches to understand why identity theft is rampant.  Hundreds of millions of records with consumers’ personal information are compromised each year.  Often, these records contain Social Security numbers, which are the key to identity theft.

While you cannot prevent identity theft, you can reduce your risk of fraud. Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft by reading PRC’s Identity Theft guides:

Coping with Identity Theft: Reducing the Risk of Fraud
Identity Theft: What to Do if It Happens to You
How to Deal with a Security Breach

If the worst happens and you find that you have become a victim of identity theft, you may obtain free victim assistance from the Identity Theft Resource Center by calling toll-free to  (888) 400-5530.