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Economic snapshot: Identity theft a growing problem

Published on February 2017 | Categories: Documents | Downloads: 6 | Comments: 0
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LOCAL ECONOMIC SNAPSHOT | CONSUMER FRAUD

Identity theft a growing problem in U.S., Texas
By PETER JOHNSON and PAMELA YIP
Staff Writers

MICHAEL HOGUE
Staff Artist [email protected]

Consumer fraud and identity theft complaints surged in Texas and the rest of the nation in 2012, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission. For the first time, the FTC received more than 2 million complaints last year, with 18 percent of them related to identity theft. In all, consumers reported losses of more than $1.4 billion to fraud-related conduct, the FTC said.
U.S. 650,256

Complaints rising
Number of complaints the FTC received, 2002-12:
Total*

2.06 million
2 million 1.5

551,622
Fraud Identity theft

1 million 0.5 0

’02

’12

*Total includes other consumer complaints that aren't fraud or identity theft

Loan fraud

Other 19%

Attempted identity theft

3%
Bank fraud

7%

Most common types of identity theft in Texas

6%
Government documents or benefits fraud 41%

Employmentrelated fraud

Credit card fraud 12% Phone or utilities fraud 11%

10%

2012 complaints Ohio 7,479 New Jersey 8,430 New Jersey 7,599 Michigan 8,119 Ohio 8,891 Pennsylvania 11,324 Pennsylvania 10,061 Michigan 12,075 Georgia 11,625 Illinois 10,361 2011 complaints New York 17,880

Texas was home to four of the 50 metro areas with the highest number of identify theft complaints in 2012. D-FW-Arlington 142.1 per 100,000
population

Houston-Sugar LandBaytown 127 BeaumontPort Arthur 176

Illinois 12,993

New York 21,538

Georgia 19,232

Killeen-TempleFort Hood 120.2

Texas 24,162

Far-ranging fraud
Of the complaints where consumers reported the fraud’s country of origin, the most by far came from the U.S. Here are the five countries that consumers reported most often: Canada 44,411 United Kingdom 14,950 India 8,415 Nigeria 9,977

Texas 28,299

California 46,658

The number of identity theft complaints in Texas rose 17 percent in 2012 from the year before, and the Lone Star State ranked third in the nation for identity theft.

California 38,607

Texas among state leaders

Florida 33,595

SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission

BOTTOM LINE
Florida 69,795 “With identity theft, part of the problem is that many people don’t know that they’re victims of identity theft. You may not know for a while, so that when you do find out about it, it can be much more of a surprise than in other kinds of consumer transactions.” Steve Toporoff, attorney with Federal Trade Commission “A lot of people are using their smartphones to do financial transactions, and people are using their laptop at Wi-Fi places. It’s making it easier for the bad guys to intercept our information.” David Leopard, former FBI agent, who makes presentations on identity theft “While it’s critical that consumers be proactive in protecting their identities, there’s only so much we can do. Identity theft could be caused by something as simple as losing your wallet, but it could also stem from things out of our control, such as hacking from overseas.” Pamela Yip, Personal Finance Writer, The Dallas Morning News

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