Identity theft tops the 2013 list of consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission and young people between 20 and 29 represent the largest number of victims along with members of the military.
In most cases, thieves used other peoples’ identities to steal government benefits, tax refunds and paychecks, commit credit card fraud or steal the use of utilities. Florida, Georgia and California take the honors as hot beds of identity fraud in the U.S.
The FTC says that more than two million people filed complaints about a variety of frauds in 2013, with a staggering loss of $1.6 billion dollars.
2013 TOP 10 CONSUMER COMPLAINTS
- Identity Fraud
- Debt Collection
- Imposter Scams
- Identity Theft
- Telephone and Mobile Services
- Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries
- Auto Related Complaints
- Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales
- Television and Electronic Media
- Advance Payment for Credit Services
Florida is the nation’s leader in overall frauds followed by Nevada and Georgia.
Throughout the country most people said frauds were initiated with telephone call or an email.
All this reminds us that it is extremely important to stay on top of our personal information and check for signs of identity theft.
How do you know?
1. You see strange withdrawals from your bank account.
2. Your bills and other mail stops arriving.
3. Strange calls from debt collectors about bills you don’t owe.
4. Strange charges on your credit card for things you didn’t buy or order.
5. You get medical bills for services you never used.
6. Your health plan rejects your legitimate claims.
7. A health insurer won’t cover you because records show a condition you don’t have.
8. The IRS tells you someone’s filed in your name.
9. You learn about a data breach involving a company where you shop.
If you see any of these signs request a free copy of your credit report. They may be a guide to suspicious activity.
1. CONTACT ONE THE THREE CREDIT REPORTING COMPANIES.
2. IMMEDIATELY ASK THE CREDIT REPORTING COMPANY TO PUT A FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR REPORT.
3. ASK THE CREDIT REPORTING COMPANY TO NOTIFY THE OTHER TWO CREDIT REPORTING COMPANIES.
Keep track of all of your conversations and your correspondence with the reporting companies. The fraud alert remains on your file for 90 days and you can renew it. So you want to stay on top of the dates.
4. File a complaint with FTC: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0277-create-identity-theft-report