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Identity Theft Tops Consumer Complaints for Eleventh Year

The Federal Trade Commission recently released the list of the most common consumer complaints in 2010. Identity theft topped the list for the eleventh year in a row. The FTC received 1,339,265 in 2010, and 250,854, or 19%, involved identity theft. In second place, there were 144,159 debt collection complaints.

For the first time, “imposter scams,” in which imposters pose as friends, family, respected companies, or government agencies in order to persuade consumers to send money, made the top ten. The FTC has issued a new consumer alert to help consumers avoid imposter scams.

FTC spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farrell commented, “Most people don’t know how their identity was stolen. If you lose your wallet on Monday and Tuesday someone starts using your cards, you have a pretty good educated guess. Otherwise you don’t. And how would you know if someone stole your identity on the Internet?”

More than half of complaints to the FTC involved some other type of fraud. 45% of those scams were initiated via email, including phishing emails. 11% of the scams originated from websites, and 19% were initiated over the phone.

Protect yourself from identity theft and other varieties of fraud by locking your mailbox to prevent stolen mail, storing sensitive paperwork in a locked file cabinet, and shredding any documents that include a name or account number before discarding them.

Protect your PC by installing antivirus and spyware removal software, and keeping your PC’s critical security patches updated.



Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 12 April, 2011, 14:20Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Not sure if the report has a separate category for it, but theft of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) belonging to millions of customers from the databases of banks and payments service providers should play a major role in identity theft. While it's relatively easy to keep an individual PC updated with all the latest security updates, DBAs have traditionally faced an uphill task in doing the same on FI and PSP database(s). 

It appears that there are technologies available which permit databases to stay un-patched - for a variety of practical constraints found in many large IT landscapes - and yet protect them from SQL injection, buffer overflow, and other techniques traditionally used to steal PII stored in them. 

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