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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works to eliminate unfair or deceptive practices in the marketplace and serves as a clearinghouse for consumer complaints. Topping the list for the seventh year in a row, 2006 identity theft and fraud complaints reached a total of nearly 250,000. This is more than one-third (36 percent) of the total number of complaints for the year.
The statistical breakdown of facts about identity theft in the 2006 report shows credit card fraud in the lead at 25 percent, followed by utilities and phone fraud at 16 percent, bank fraud at 16 percent, and employment fraud at 14 percent. Total losses reported due to identity theft exceeded $1.1 billion.
Individual losses are greatest when victims are not quick to discover unauthorized activity on accounts and credit cards. Here are three recommendations to reduce potential losses: