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Identity Theft Remains the Top U.S. Consumer Complaint

Identity theft continues to top the list of consumer complaints, and when it's combined with other kinds of fraud, the total losses reported by U.S. consumers totaled more than $1.6 billion in 2013, according to a Federal Trade Commission report released Thursday.

Florida had the highest per capita rate of reported identity theft complaints, followed by Georgia and California. Nearly 300,000, or 14 percent of the 2 million complaints the FTC received last year, were related to identity theft, the report said.

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The majority of identity theft grievances were related to taxes or wages.

Government documents and benefits fraud — the most common category — accounted for 34 percent of id theft reports.

Credit card fraud comprised 17 percent of complaints, followed by phone or utilities fraud at 14 percent and bank fraud at 8 percent.

The highest reported age group for identity theft is 20-29, making up 20 percent of complaints, but the FTC warns that anyone can be a victim.

“Americans of all ages are vulnerable to identity theft, and it remains the most common consumer complaint to the Commission,”  Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich said in a statement. “We urge consumers to visit FTC.gov/idtheft for tips to prevent and mitigate the damage from identity theft.”

More than 1 million complaints reported to the FTC last year were related to fraud, with half the victims noting that scam artists first contacted them by phone or email.

The Federal Trade Commission advises anyone who spots a scam, is the victim of identity theft or other fraud-related issues to file a complaint online with the agency’s Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357).

For more information on tax-related identity theft, click here and here.

For information on protecting your identity, click here.

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