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.
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
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