The Federal Trade Commission released its annual fraud and identity theft report today. For the seventh year in a row, identity theft topped the list of complaints made by consumers. Credit card fraud was the most common form.
Washington slipped down the ranks to 13th in the nation for identity theft complaints per capita last year, with a total of 4,942 reported cases to the FTC. We placed 9th among the states in 2006 and 7th in 2005. But we bumped up from 3rd to 2nd in the country for overall fraud complaints. Only Colorado fared worse.
Washington residents complained about the following:
- Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales - 1,404 complaints
- Internet Services - 1,226 complaints
- Foreign Money Offers - 893 complaints
- Computer Equipment and Software – 795 complaints
- Prizes/Sweepstakes and Lotteries - 773 complaints
Meanwhile, Javelin Research released results of a nationwide survey that found identity theft declined in 2007. Javelin estimates that 8.1 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2007, down from 8.4 million in 2006 and 10.1 million in 2003.
Company president Jim Van Dyke told SCMagazineUS.com on Monday that victims are often responsible for identity theft.
"Individuals themselves often leave information exposed," he said. "Our data shows that in 70 percent of cases in which personal information was the cause of the exposure, the exposed information was under the consumer's control."
Read identity theft prevention tips from the Washington Attorney General's Office.