Identity thieves were once again consumers' greatest gripe last year, followed by pesky debt collectors and frustrating banks and lenders.
Of the more than 2 million complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission, law enforcement and consumer protection agencies, nearly 300,000 (or 14%) were related to identity theft, according to the FTC's annual tally.
|Complaint category||% of total complaints|
|3)||Banks and lenders||7%|
|5)||Telephone and mobile services||6%|
|6)||Prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries||4%|
|7)||Auto related complaints||4%|
|8)||Shop-at-home and catalog sales||3%|
|9)||Television and electronic media||3%|
|10)||Advance payment for credit card services||2%|
Beyond identity theft, the agency received more than 1.1 million complaints about various fraud schemes, which led to losses of more than $1.6 billion for consumers. The FTC did not have an estimate of identity-theft related losses.
Roughly a third of the identity-theft complaints came from consumers who said their personal information had been stolen and used in government documents, such filing a false tax return or applying for government benefits.
Meanwhile, around one-quarter of the identity-theft complaints were about bank or credit card fraud.
Rounding out the top three complaints were problems with debt collectors (10%), including repeated or profane phone calls and misrepresentations of the amounts owed, followed by complaints about banks and lenders (7%), ranging from the use of predatory lending practices to fees and overdraft charges.
Many consumers said they had fallen victim to other frauds as well, including phony sweepstakes and so-called "imposter scams," a popular scheme where fraudsters pose as a loved one in need.