Identity theft is a growing concern. For the 15th consecutive year, it was the top complaint in the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, accounting for 13 percent of the total 2.5 million filed complaints. Identity theft complaints in Texas totaled 25,843. Nationally, people in their 40s and 50s filed the most complaints – 19 percent – while 18 percent of complaints were made by those in both their 20s and 30s. People age 60 and older filed 13 percent of complaints and people age 70 and older only filed 7 percent of complaints.
Social Security, Medicare and other government benefits fraud accounted for more than one in three reports of identity theft, followed by fraudulent use of credit cards (17 percent) and phone or utilities fraud (13 percent). Stealing money from bank accounts accounted for 8 percent of complaints.
The top scams for Texas in 2014 include:
- Identity theft: 25,843
- Debt Collection: 34,876
- Telephone and Mobile Services: 15,876
- Impostor Scams: 13,869
- Banks and Lenders: 7,916
- Auto-Related Complaints: 6,745
- Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries: 5,528
- Credit Bureaus, Information Furnishers and Report Users: 5,137
- Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales: 3,811
- Television and Electronic Media: 3,006
The FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is based on consumer complaints filed with the agency, and is available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the country and abroad to help identify fraud trends, research cases, identify victims and track possible targets. It does not include “Do Not Call” complaints.