Consumers Count Their Woes
By Richard Burnett
January 26th, 2006
Identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission's list of consumer woes in 2005 for the sixth straight year, the agency reported Wednesday. Of the top 50 U.S. metro areas, Orlando ranked 13th
1. IDENTITY THEFT -- Most cases result in credit-card fraud but thieves frequently also establish bank accounts, phone numbers and utility service using victims' names. 255,565 complaints in 2005.
2. INTERNET AUCTIONS -- Fraudulent offers and scams on eBay and other Internet auction sites take in tens of millions of dollars a year. 80,450 complaints.
3. FOREIGN MONEY OFFERS -- The so-called Nigerian scam and similar schemes ask people to "invest" upfront money for a promise of riches down the road. 55,419 complaints.
4. SHOP-AT-HOME/CATALOG SALES -- People complain about the wrong goods, defective goods or nothing being delivered at all. 54,549 complaints.
5. PRIZES/SWEEPSTAKES/LOTTERIES -- Would any legitimate lottery require money upfront to get your winnings? Authorities say this scam is rampant. 48,712 complaints.
6. INTERNET SERVICES AND OTHER COMPUTER WOES -- Spyware issues, service interruptions, cancellation problems, bogus repairs and other malfunctions. 34,465 complaints.
7. BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES AND WORK-AT-HOME PLANS -- The government filed more than 100 fraud cases last year against bogus work-at-home offers. 16,511 complaints.
8. ADVANCE-FEE LOANS -- Usually targeting people with poor credit, such deals require money upfront for loans, credit-repair services and other assistance. 13,033 complaints.
9. TELEPHONE SERVICES -- Flawed bills, undisclosed charges, fraudulent "toll-free" numbers and unauthorized service changes (known as "slamming"). 10,286 complaints.
10. OTHER -- Bogus job-assistance services, charitable solicitations, scholarship offers, immigration green-card assistance, etc. 117,695 complaints.
SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission [ here
To file a complaint with the FTC, call 1-877-382-4357 or file online at www.ftc.gov.