Florida outpaces New York on consumer fraud complaints

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Floridians filed fraud and identity theft complaints nearly three times more often than New Yorkers did last year, according to a new federal report.

New York consumers made 524 complaints for every 100,000 residents. Florida had the highest rate of fraud complaints in the United States with 1,510 for every 100,000 residents. Nationwide, there were to 3 million complaints filed last year, the Federal Trade Commission’s report indicated.

The FTC puts out an annual analysis using millions of consumer complaints collected by more than 50 law enforcement agencies and private companies. The reports are voluntary and not verified by the FTC. The median amount of fraud reported was $400.

How the states compare on fraud complaint rates

Federal Trade Commission 2015 fraud complaints per 100,000 population

Hover over any state to see the number of complaints per 100,000 people.

275 to 430431 to 525526 to 630631 to 800801 to 1,511

Complaints were up 3 percent in New York, 49 percent in Florida and 17 percent nationally compared to 2014. The FTC says the increase in complaints came largely from an Android-based app, PrivacyStar, that lets users block suspected scammers and report details to the FTC.

Three out of four people who filed complaints said they were contacted by alleged scammers by phone last year. Only 8 percent of reported fraud was committed via email, complainants said, down from 23 percent during 2014.

According to the complaints, criminals scammed money and personal information most frequently by citing claims of outstanding debt or by posing as government agents. Altogether, identity theft, debt collection and imposter scams made up half of filed complaints. Stolen identities were most often used to sign up for government documents or benefits, followed by credit cards.

The reports are filed by individuals, but corporations have been targets of data breach and identity thefts. Last year on Long Island, North Shore Hospital, now known as Northwell Health, joined the list of data breach victims such as Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase and government agencies such as the State Department, raising concerns over cyber security among business owners.

How the states rank on fraud complaints

Hover over bars to see the number of complaints per 100,000 population

Nearly two-thirds of those filing complaints said they paid alleged scammers using wire transfer last year, while only 29 percent of victims said they so the year before.

The FTC recommends several protocols for consumers to follow to avoid being defrauded. In case of any lawful debt collection, for example, a written validation notice must be issued by your creditor for the amount you owe, and the debt collectors must be able to give you their physical address and business phone number.

Fraud complaints by state

The rate and number of complaints filed in 2015, along with state rank

State Fraud complaint rate Fraud complaints Rank
Florida 1,510.2 306,133 1
Georgia 1,208.3 123,429 2
Michigan 1,143.6 113,474 3
Texas 941.3 258,579 4
Nevada 836.9 24,194 5
Delaware 807.8 7,641 6
Rhode Island 764.7 8,078 7
California 750.2 293,662 8
Maryland 749.0 44,985 9
Alabama 738.1 35,865 10
Tennessee 670.3 44,241 11
Louisiana 663.7 30,999 12
Virginia 645.3 54,093 13
New Jersey 626.5 56,121 14
Pennsylvania 626.3 80,180 15
Arizona 623.5 42,575 16
Missouri 609.3 37,068 17
Ohio 606.8 70,470 18
New Mexico 594.1 12,387 19
Colorado 592.6 32,333 20
New Hampshire 572.0 7,611 21
Massachusetts 557.6 37,884 22
Connecticut 554.1 19,898 23
South Carolina 553.3 27,091 24
North Carolina 550.3 55,266 25
New York 524.9 103,918 26
Illinois 517.2 66,510 27
Mississippi 516.3 15,450 28
Indiana 511.1 33,836 29
Oregon 506.0 20,387 30
Washington 505.7 36,264 31
Oklahoma 493.6 19,307 32
Arkansas 478.4 14,248 33
Kentucky 467.2 20,674 34
Maine 447.1 5,943 35
West Virginia 446.8 8,240 36
Montana 442.6 4,572 37
Wisconsin 442.6 25,544 37
Minnesota 438.2 24,055 39
Kansas 426.9 12,430 40
Idaho 423.1 7,002 41
Wyoming 415.5 2,435 42
Vermont 406.7 2,546 43
Nebraska 403.3 7,648 44
Utah 396.2 11,870 45
Alaska 395.0 2,917 46
Hawaii 371.3 5,315 47
South Dakota 356.0 3,056 48
Iowa 349.2 10,909 49
North Dakota 278.8 2,110 50

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