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Identity theft tops list of consumer complaints for 14th consecutive year

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The FTC announced its top 10 consumer complaints for 2013 today. Of the more than 2 million consumer complaints received…

  • Identity theft leads the field, with 14 percent of total complaints filed. Thirty percent of those were tax- or wage-related, which continues to be the largest category within identity theft complaints.
  • Coming in at a close second: Debt collection, with 10 percent.
  • Completing the trifecta: Banks and lenders, with 7 percent.
  • Rounding out the field: Imposter scams; telephone and mobile services; prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries; auto related complaints; shop-at-home and catalog sales; television and electronic media; and advance payment for credit services.

The good news: Millions of consumers are beating the scammers. That’s because complaints matter at the FTC. If a business doesn't deliver on its promises, if someone cheats you out of your money, or if you've spotted a scam, you’ve been telling it to the FTC. Your complaints help us stop rip-off artists, scammers, and fraudsters. The FTC’s aggressive law enforcement efforts put the bad guys out of business, and our vigorous consumer education campaigns empower people just like you to make well-informed buying decisions and recognize frauds and scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


You're in not working

It seems that in my area those born prior to 1980/1990, we don't know or can't keep up with most of or all of the hi-tech advancements. The FTC info you put out via "E" is one of the best sources how to be safe from scammers et-al… Many institutions are available to sign on to for security info so you can stay abreast of current illegal activities occurring in real-time. Thank you.

I sent a copy of my passport to different people who were imposter scams. I don't want anyone using my Passport information. I will never be so naive.

I have a scan on my email, have not deleted it. How do I report this sort of thing. I've had several in the recent past. They are almost funny, when it is a lawyer that doesn't know how to spell or punctuate sentences correctly. How dumb can you get? I'd love to be able to report these when I got those.

It's probably not a real lawyer sending that e-mail. It could be from another country that doesn't know English that well. I've gotten faxes like that. It could be anyone sending that. It could be a computer virus too. Don't open any attachments from people you don't know.

It is really helpful to law enforcement for people to report scams even if they don't fall for it. Report it to the FTC and also report to your local District Attorney or State Attorney General's Office through the consumer protection or economic crimes unit

Receiving calls on home phone from someone saying he is Jason Miller with the IRS and to return his call at 1-716-442-3057, or there will be consequences. Have not returned calls.

I just got the same message from the same person however, the phone number to call back was 716-442-3058. I think this is a scam. I did report it to FTC.

There will be no consequences because this is just a scam, not the IRS. This scam is so prevalent that the IRS has set up their own page to help facilitate reporting. Here is the most important thing--do not give these callers any personal information or verify any information they may have. Just hang up on them.

I had an identity theft on my taxes plus one from my credit union. It took two years to clear the IRS.

Thanks for the info on identify theft. It is growing each second of the day. Thanks for the warning and the emails does come in by the hundreds. I do not open them if I do not know the sender. We need education on the varies scams, email fraud, telephone calls with unknown numbers and those numbers not familiar. Thanks for continue educating us. The old & the young. The banks are not as safe as they were in the pass. So we need to think very careful about our financial institution whether we should use prepaid cards or banks.

Clear up id

Visit our featured identity theft page for help dealing with identity theft.

I need more information

You can find more information about identity theft at

I'm glad to know that you all are willing to report these incidents.

We are deluged with solitcitation type telephone calls.. Robocalls, political calls, sales of goods and services. We do not pickup on any out-of-area numbers. We are on every "do not call" list---and still they.come. Thank you for the good work you do. Hnl

I'll share some therapy with you- people who break the law should have consequences. But you can't severely punish someone for doing nothing illegal.
Personal lesson- report it and deliver the consequences before the situation escalates. It always does until they one way or another blame you.

Citimortgage sold our mortgage to Seterus!

We have recieved 2 calls since this morning from 202-241-8441, they left messages saying " He is from IRS, its extremely time sensitive and we should call back". when I called them back, voice mail says: This is IRS, please leave a message".

My excitement was a phone call telling me I was a "Second" tier winner of the "Clearing House".$500,000.oo Can you imagine that! The first call was two men. Lutz passed me on to Faulkner after a short talk. I talked long enough to realize their phone numbers always ended with 0000.They had a number of good reasons not to take calls; they would make the calls and save so much time?? I finally showed enough doubt they decided to prove it to me. They gave me a "Games and Trades Commission" number to call to verify the win. Certainly I called. I got message that said the call couldn't be completed at this time. I tried a second time. I got a call back in a few minutes that time. He said their computer always says that and they always got a beep to notify them. If they had time they always returned the calls. Yeah...right. All I know for sure is that the two Lawyers were calling from Minnesota and the Trades Commission was a Washington DC number. There is a huge number of Lawyers in that area code (MN). I can not figure which ones they are or are supposed to be. Global Express was supposed to be to my house between 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. today. Son of a gun!! they didn't show up! I might have spooked someone when I told one of them that I wasn't afraid of a large Cashiers check...that I have a very near and dear neighbor that will escort me to my bank with it. That he is a Law Officer. Oh well! So it goes!!!

just got the same exact call! ha

I am now getting 3 calls a day from someone claiming to be the IRS and that I owe money. They have threatened my wife a few times as well.

Received one call from person claiming he is IRS agent Paul Cooper and please call or have lawyer call before situation unfolds for you and all can do is wish you luck; hotline to call is 202-241-0280; not returned calls. Now got two claiming they are from County sheriff with similar tone and context call back to 202-754-8079. All calls shown originated from different numbers on caller id.

Got a call yesterday from Larry Richmond and CCR& Associates
According to him I owed $350.00 from a payday loan. They gave me all of my personal information and told me I had 24 hrs to call them back and give them a credit or debit card. If I didn't they were going to take me to court.

I received a call stating that I was being sue for fraud. they called my cell and work number. I did an internet search on telephone number and it was a scam. Beware of these phone calls.

It's scary to think that people fall for these scams. Fortunately you were able to do a search and discover it was a scam, but often times people fall for these types of situations. Glad to hear everything worked out for you Diana.

I received a call from 855-894-5103 a man with a very think indian decent accent claiming to be from the BCI, and if i dont call him back within 24 hr or my lawyer contact him directly about a legal matter all he can do is wish me the best of luck and he will contact my local police dept and have me arrest at my job. SCAM!!! BEWARE

I got the same thing just a moment ago. He was "Officer Jim Carter" asking for an employee who hasn't worked here in ages, and if I didn't give him her information then me, my company, and everyone who has ever worked around could go to jail. Ridiculous!

I get a call from the same person about everyday ive reported each number im in the donotcall registry and i have told him to not call again and he keeps changing his number and its location. VERY HUGE INDIAN ACCENT.

Got a call the other night at 1028pm wanting to sell me medication thru the mail! I told him if he called me again he would need some medication! I mean come on people something needs to be done about this I have been on the do not call list for years! I get an average of 5 calls a day! HELP!

I had to get a statement from IRS saying that I didn't file taxes in 2012,only to find out that someone has been filing my taxes for 2010.2011 and 2012. I've called all of the fraud numbers IRSsaid to call.What is the next thing I can do to stop this.

I received phone call from Steele Morgan and Association, they say they were collecting a debt from a credit card I owe. His name was David Garcia. I kept questioning about my case. He kept insisting that I pay if not I would have to go to court. He was calling non stop. He said he ran my credit and took over my account. Sounds legit but really a scam.

I mostly solved my Florida (where most calls come from) telemarketer call problem by simply not answering the phone for unknown numbers and putting an obnoxious message on my phone machine that really discourages them. I uses a "please hang up, you must dial 0, then 1..." from: Telephone World.

The initial three tone disconnect sound in the message also confuses their computers.

Have to thank you for that tip crotalus. Been working day and night on fixing my identity theft issue when your post caught my eye. I am definitely going to give it a try.

Thanks a bunch for the tip and putting a smile on this tired face!

I was recently(selected) by the us grant funding. They received all of my information before I realized it was a scam. There was nothing on my debit card at the time. I was wondering cam they still get away with this and what can be done. I can even post the number they used to call me if need be. Please help

You may want to report this incident to your bank or check your card statement carefully for unauthorized charges. This article gives you more tips on what to do if your debit card information was compromised. In addition, you can file a complaint with the FTC and report the number they called you from.

813-320-0930 displays as Verizon Wireless computer voice states your verizon account de-activated if you want to reactivate enter your passcode (your ener it)then asks for your 16 digit account number then (asks if your card number is the 16 digit account you just input asks you to push 1 for yes or 2 for no) then asks for your 4 digit pin. (Then asks to press 1 for yes 2 for no ) then hangs up no confirmation, and no ammount! Immediately called *611 to verify guess what ? scam scam scam called card customer service to shut it down. I am so frustrated with myself. NEVER give info to callers hang up and call the valid customer service numbers on your bill/agreement.

The newest thing I guess is Craigslist using pictures of houses etc posing as the real homeowner or realtor renting it out for vacation purposes.. Do not do this unless you talk to the actual owner/agent!! I called when my sister realized the same home was posted on several sites.. The owner was very frustrated with Craigslist being a scam garden now.. Stealing $$

Someone has made fake credit cards with my account number on them. I have had possession of my original card this whole time. They are going to stores and buying gift cards. In the past week they have charge about $2000.00. Not sure how they managed to get my info to make a fake card since I have my card. Police have a picture from security cameras. I sure hope they find these people. So be careful where you use your credit cards! I guess its time to only use cash.

Watch out for Fake Microsoft calls about problems with your operating system

Within the last month I have received 3 or 4 calls from telephone number 121-299-9365. The person calling claims to be calling from Microsoft to tell me someone has hacked my computer and they want to help me fix the problem. They tell me to log on to my computer and they will walk me through the process. Identity theft is the problem that is referred to. I have refused to do this but they are very persistent. The telephone number they called from is in England and is used frequently to make scam calls. Also, both the man and woman who called have what sounds like Oriental accents, possibly Chinese.

Thank you. Sharing your experience helps others be on the alert about this type of scam. We've written about tech support scams in this blog before. See:

You can also read the longer article Tech Support Scams.


"Garcinia Cambogia", "Pimsleur Approach", etc., all too familiar scam emails for many. I have been forwarding these to for months but they only seem to intensify. They have all started when my email address ended up on a distribution list related to my kids' school activities. One of the parents probably had their computer hacked and emails harvested for addresses. Is the FTC working on stopping these scam operations?

been recieving calls for a week now that a man name brian jones who says he works at rapid recovery solutions at 430 162nd st holland,illinois
saying I owe 1315 in payday loans to ace payday loans through from 7084339414. he states its a legal matter and he will be going to court with it and i will be served a warrant and arrested in my state of pennsylvania this debt is suppose to be from january of 2012 when I lived in New Jersey and he knew my social and that I am married and have children. Watch out for them. I say take me to court but I have requested for them to no longer contact my job. An they are quite rude and get loud.

Scamming have became so popular....Rule of thumb is " when in doubt, check it out". Especially when you know what they are saying couldn't possibly be true. Even if there is a possibility, you can call the legitimate phone number and check it out...
I recently had set up call block on my cell. It was ridiculous how may call I would get in a day from these idiots. If they couldn't get me to answer from a number ending in 0056, they would just call again from 0057, then 0058 and so on. I use call block which immediately identifies the number and hangs up. Daily checking my call block I find these idiots are persistent. Never-the-less, I don't have to listen to their messages on my voice mail or phone ringing.

I really enjoyed reading your blog, you have lots of great content. I look forward to reading more posts from you.

I are they calling from different numbers They have called me from 17 different numbers claiming to be the IRS

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