ID theft complaints drop; losses up

ID theft complaints drop; losses up

The number of ID theft complaints reported to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) dipped slightly in 2006, but the amount of money victims lost from consequential fraud steepled above the billion dollar mark.

The FTC says between January and December 2006, its Consumer Sentinel database received over 674,354 cases of fraud and identity theft, which cost around $1.2 billion in losses.

Although ID theft remained the most common complaint for the seventh straight year, the number of complaints fell slightly to 246,035 - or 36% of all complaints received in 2006.

Credit card fraud was the most common form of ID theft, making up a quarter of the complaints, followed by phone or utilities fraud and bank fraud.

The FTC says 72% of all fraud complaints reported the Internet as the method of initial contact, with e-mail at 45% and Web at 15%.

The FTC report follows research released last week by Javelin Strategy and Research which found that the number of US consumer suffering fraud losses from ID theft dropped for the first time in 2006.

According to Javelin, the number of ID theft victims dropped from 8.9 million in 2005 to 8.4 million.

Read the FTC's report here:

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