GS Logo
The Green Sheet, Inc

Please Log in

A Thing

Links Related
to this Story:

FTC Top 10 List: ID Theft No. 1, Internet Auction Scams Increase

For the fourth year in a row, identity theft topped the list of consumer fraud complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2003. Fraudsters are increasingly making use of the Internet to run their scams.

The agency released its annual report in late January 2004 detailing complaints logged in its Consumer Sentinel database. The FTC received more than a half million complaints in 2003, up from 404,000 in 2002.

Identity theft accounted for 42% of the complaints filed. Internet-related complaints accounted for 55% of all fraud reports in 2003, compared to 45% in 2002. Combined, identity theft and fraud cost Americans at least $437 million last year.

Of the 516,740 complaints received in 2003, 301,835 were fraud related; 214,905 were identity theft reports. The agency reports only on the number of complaints it received, making the actual number of incidents higher, the FTC said.

Consumers filed complaints about e-commerce and Internet access services, but online auction scams were the most common form of Internet fraud. Those comprised 15% of all the complaints filed in 2003.

Not only are scam artists stealing financial information, including bank account and credit card numbers, to bankroll spending sprees, they're also using online auction sites to gain access to other people's good names.

Scam artists have begun to assume the identities and "feedback" ratings of online auction sellers on sites such as eBay.

CBS News reported on this form of Internet auction fraud, where scammers hack into legitimate sellers' profiles, changing their passwords and accounts, and then begin selling non-existent merchandise.

The FTC's Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, Howard Beales, said that more than 900 law enforcement agencies in the United States, Canada and Australia contribute to and access information through the Consumer Sentinel database, making it a centralized, efficient resource in combating identity theft and emerging scams.

For further information on the report's findings, visit the FTC Web site at .

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.
Back Next Index © 2004, The Green Sheet, Inc.