NEW YORK (MoneyTalksNews)—The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than two million complaints in 2012, the first time they’ve topped two million in one year. Nine of the top 10 were repeated from last year.
While record numbers and consistent complaints might not sound like good news, there’s a bright side: Learning solutions to recurring problems allows simple protection.
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson produced the following video about the top five complaints; check it out, then read on for more.
Here’s the complete list of the FTC’s top 10 consumer complaints of 2012 along with tips to help prevent becoming a statistic.
1. Identity theft
Identity theft comes in many forms, and tops the 2012 list with 369,000 complaints – about 18 percent of the total.
There are many ways your identity can be stolen, but about half the complaints were associated with tax- and wage-related fraud.
To help avoid tax scams, file early, use a trusted tax preparer, and send returns electronically. For more, read our story about six common tax scams.
Tax time is also a good time to check your credit reports by requesting free copies at annualcreditreport.com. If someone’s opened an account in your name, this is how you’ll catch it.
Be careful with your Social Security number. Shred documents with sensitive information before throwing them out.
Check out our post with more ways to prevent and recover from identity theft.
2. Debt collection
Debt collectors have earned a reputation for being ruthless. They call, send messages, and sometimes use illegal tactics to get you to pay. They were responsible for about 10% of consumer complaints in 2012.