Identity theft was one of the most prevalent complaints of US customers in 2013, a new Federal Trade Commission report reveals.
Of the 2 million complaints analyzed last year, over 290,000 were related to identity theft. Some 30 per cent of the incidents were tax-related, the largest category within identity theft complaints.
The study also shows 43 percent of scammed victims were contacted via email, 21 percent by telephone and 20 percent via spoofed websites. In most cases, an identity thief used a legitimate taxpayerâ€™s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund.
The report says 41 per cent of those affected by ID theft contacted law enforcement to solve the problem.
Florida has the highest rate of fraud and identity theft among US states, followed by Georgia and California. Theft affected all age groups fairly equally. One in five of those who fell victim to identity theft are in their 20s, while 19 per cent were between 30 and 39 and 17 per cent were aged from 50 to 59.
Over one million complaints were fraud-related, resulting in losses of some $1.6 billion, the FTC report shows. A third of the fraud victims were also approached by email and only 5 percent via direct mailing.
The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) is an online database of millions of consumer complaints available only to law enforcement.