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ID Theft, Debt Collectors, Banks And Lenders Top FTC Complaints For 2012

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WASHINGTON (3/15/13)--Identity theft was the No. 1 consumer complaint during 2012, with 18% of the more than two million consumer complaints made to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to ID theft.

2012 is the first year the complaints have reached more than two million, said FTC.

Identity theft complaints totaled 369,132. Of those more than 43% were related to tax or wage fraud.

Debt collection was the No. 2 complaint area, with 199,721 complaints or 10% of total complaints. Banks and lenders were No. 3, with complaints totaling 132,340 or 6%.

Complaints about credit unions were miniscule--less than 0.05% and they were lumped in with lending banks in a category that collected 781 complaints. That is a mere drop in the bucket when compared with the 19,738 complaints (1.35%) related to mortgage loans; 6,849 complaints (0.47%) against  national commercial banks; 6,076 complaints (0.41%) at other institutions; and 3,580 complaints (0.24%) generated against finance companies.

Other  complaints within the "Banks and Lenders" category were also counted: They included:

  • State Charter Banks (Non-Fed member): 591 or 0.04%;
  • Savings and Loans/Thrift Banks: 440 complaints, 0.03%;
  • State Charter Banks (Fed member): 400  or 0.03%
  • Student loans:  101 complaints or 0.01%. 
  • ATM/e-banking procedures:  95 or 0.01% of complaints;
  • Payday lenders, none, or 0%.
The FTC did not explain why the payday lenders category had no complaints filed or whether they are included in another category.

In other categories, shop-at-home and catalog sales generated 115,184 complaints (6%); prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries collected 98,479 complaints (5%); impostor scams totaled 82,896 (4%); Internet services, 81,438 (4%); auto-related complaints, 78,062 (4%); telephone and mobile services, 76,783 (4%); and credit cards, 51,500 (3%).

FTC entered complaints into a Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies across the nation.