Top Complaint to the FTC? ID Theft, Again
When it’s award season in Hollywood, being #1 is what it’s all about. But in other settings, there’s nothing admirable about coming in first. For the fifth consecutive year, identity theft is at the top of the FTC’s list of consumer complaints.
The FTC received more than two million complaints in 2012. Nearly one in five was about identity theft: the misuse of personal information like a Social Security, credit, or bank account number to commit fraud or theft.
The thieves were most likely to go after people’s wages, government benefits, tax refunds, or credit card and bank accounts. Others opened utility accounts, got medical care, took out loans, and rented apartments.
If you suspect that someone has stolen your personal information, act quickly to limit the damage.
If you think someone used your information to get a job or tax refund — or if you get a notice from the IRS indicating a problem — contact the IRS immediately.
Your credit report may show the first sign that someone has misused your information, so check your report a few times a year. You have a right to one copy of your report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Ordering one free report every four months is a good way to monitor your file and spot errors early.
For more tips on spotting and stopping identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.