January 24, 2003, 12:00 AM

Identity theft tops FTC complaint list

Identity theft made up 43% of consumer fraud reports to the FTC last year. The issue is of concern to online retailers because consumers’ fears that their personal information could be compromised is keeping a significant portion from shopping online.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Identity theft was the leading category of complaints about consumer fraud to the Federal Trade Commission last year, the FTC reports, making up 43% of all fraud reports. The issue is of concern to online retailers because consumers’ fears that their personal information could be compromised is keeping a significant portion from shopping online.

Internet auctions were the second leading category of complaint, at 13%.

The number of fraud complaints jumped from 220,000 in 2001 to 380,000 in 2002, and the dollar loss consumers attributed to the fraud they reported grew from $160 million in 2001 to $343 million in 2002.

The FTC notes that the big jump in complaints is more likely the result of ,more outreach by FTC t make consumers aware that they can file complaints with the increase in partners that promote the service than in an increase in crime.

The FTC urges consumers to protect their privacy by providing credit card information only to online retailers they know and trust.

 

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