No Surprises there dept.

For the seventh year in a row, identity theft tops the FTC’s Annual List of Top Consumer Complaints. :ODeter. Detect. Defend.

accounting for 36 percent of the 674,354 complaints received between January 1 and December 31, 2006. Other categories near the top of the fraud complaint list include shop-at-home/catalog sales; prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries; Internet services and computer complaints; and Internet auction fraud.

“Consumers’ help in stopping unlawful operations is critical,” said Deborah Platt Majoras, Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. “By filing a complaint with the FTC, consumers are making information available to more than 1,600 law enforcement agencies that have access to our secure database.”

“It’s as easy as a click or a call,” she said. “The FTC has an online complaint form at, or consumers can reach us at 1-877-FTC-HELP.”

This year brought some firsts. For the first time, complaint data has been broken out by metropolitan statistical areas with populations greater than 100,000. Breakout data for more than 350 metropolitan areas can be found at And this year, complaint data has been sorted into16 categories. They are:

Rank Top Categories Complaints %
1 Identity Theft 246,035 36%
2 Shop-at-Home/Catalog Sales 46,995 7%
3 Prizes/Sweepstakes and Lotteries 45,587 7%
4 Internet Services and Computer Complaints 41,243 6%
5 Internet Auctions 32,832 5%
6 Foreign Money Offers 20,411 3%
7 Advance-Fee Loans and Credit Protection/Repair 10,857 2%
8 Magazines and Buyers Clubs 8,924 1%
9 Telephone Services 8,165 1%
10 Health Care 7,467 1%
11 Business Opportunities and Work-at-Home Plans 7,460 1%
12 Travel, Vacations, and Timeshare 6,712 1%
13 Office Supplies and Services 5,723 1%
14 Grants: Scholarships/Educational & Non-Educational 5,310 1%
15 Employment Agencies/Job Counselors/Overseas Work 4,485 1%
16 Investments 3,630 1%
Other Coded Complaints 12,399 2%

This year, one major data contributor changed the way in which it codes complaints, and did not code many of its complaints, so comparisons with previous years’ complaint categories are difficult.

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