The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) report for 2008 reveals some interesting trends in fraud — specifically, identity theft.

The CSN received over 1.2 million complaints during calendar year 2008: 52 per cent fraud complaints; 26 per cent identity theft complaints; and 22 per cent other types of complaints.

Identity theft was the number one complaint category in the CSN Report for calendar year 2008 with 26 per cent of the overall complaints.

  • Credit card fraud (20 per cent) was the most common form of reported identity theft followed by government documents/benefits fraud (15 per cent), employment fraud (15 per cent), and phone or utilities fraud (13 per cent). Other significant categories of identity theft reported by victims were bank fraud (11 per cent) and loan fraud (4 per cent).
  • Government documents/benefits fraud is now the second most common reported type of identity theft after credit card fraud. Fraudulent tax return-related identity theft, a subtype of government documents/benefits fraud, has increased nearly six percentage points since calendar year 2006.
  • Electronic fund transfer-related identity theft continues to be the most frequently reported type of identity theft bank fraud during calendar year 2008, despite declining since calendar year 2006.

Almost half (47 per cent) of those filing ID theft complaints were in the 20-39 age bracket.

The full CSN 2008 Report is available at the FTC Web site. Note: It’s in .PDF format, so you’ll need a recent version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.

The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) archives complaints filed with the FTC, the CSN also includes complaints filed with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, Better Business Bureaus, Canada’s Phone Busters, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Identity Theft Assistance Center and the National Fraud Information Center, among others.

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