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Identity theft tops list of consumer fraud for 2010

March 8, 2011 | 12:17 pm

Identity theft continued to be a significant problem for U.S. consumers in 2010, ranking as the top complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission for the year.

The FTC on Tuesday released a list of the top 10 consumer complaints it received in 2010. For the 11th consecutive year, identity theft was at the top of the list, with more than 250,000 complaints.

The most common identity theft complaint involved criminals who used a victim’s personal information in order to receive government benefits. The second most common type of identity theft involved the unauthorized use of a victim’s identity to obtain credit cards.

Identity theft was the subject of 19% of all complaints filed with the FTC in 2010.

Other problem areas on the list were debt collection, lottery scams and a new addition to the list, impostor scams, in which someone pretending to be a victim’s friend or relative asks for money to resolve a fabricated crisis.

-- Stuart Pfeifer