FTC Releases 2005 Fraud Statistics

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission reported earlier today that they received more than 255,000 complaints regarding identity theft in 2005. That’s up from 247,000 reported in 2004. Total fraud reports topped 686,000.

So what trends show up in the report? Well, here are a few:

  • Identity theft again was the top vote-getter with 37% of all fraud complaints. No surprise there.
  • More fraud involving wire transfers. The percentage of Internet-related fraud complaints with “wire transfer” as the reported payment method more than tripled between calendar years 2003 and 2005, increasing by 12 percentage points. Be careful before wiring money to anyone! Most lottery scams and Nigerian email scams usually involve wiring money to people. Don’t do it!
  • Geographic areas with the highest per-capita problems with identity theft? Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ; Las Vegas-Paradise, NV; and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA.
  • Number of complaints where no money was lost went up from 24% in 2003 to 32% in 2005. Some of you are getting smarter!
  • Email is increasing as a means to scam you. It is the #1 method to reach victims and has increased from 26% to 35% in the past 2 years.

The complete report can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat format from the FTC web site.

Author: Richard Patterson

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