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ID Fraud, Abusive Debt Collectors Top Consumer Gripes in '08

Identity fraud was the top complaint consumers lodged last year with the Federal Trade Commission, followed by gripes about harassing and abusive debt collectors, the agency reported today.

Of the 1,223,370 complaints the FTC received last year, 313,982 - or 26 percent - were related to identity fraud. The biggest chunk of those complaints related to credit card fraud (20 percent), while employment fraud and fraud related to government documents/benefits each accounted for 15 percent of identity fraud complaints. Phone or utilities fraud made up 13 percent, while 15 percent of complaints related to bank and loan fraud complaints.

Debt collectors have always generated a large volume of complaints, but this is the first year that the FTC has included the industry as a category in its top complaints listing, FTC spokeswoman Claudia Bourne Farrell said.

In November 2008, nationwide debt collection agency Academy Collection Service and its owner agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle FTC charges that its collectors misled, threatened and harassed consumers, disclosed their debts to third parties, and deposited postdated checks early, in violation of federal law.

The largest share of identity fraud complaints per capita came from consumers in Arizona, California, Florida, Texas and Nevada, the FTC's state-by-state breakdown indicates.

In 63 percent of the complaints filed with the FTC last year, the consumers' primary method of interacting with the named entity was over the Web or through e-mail.

One final note: please join me tomorrow for another Security Fix Live online chat. The chat starts at 11 a.m. ET, but you can start submitting your questions now at this link. See you there!

By Brian Krebs  |  February 26, 2009; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Fraud , U.S. Government  | Tags: debt collectors, fraud, ftc, id theft, identity theft  
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We enable the flow of accurate and secure information for the financial services and accounts receivable management industry and ultimately the consumer, so that they are only paying back the debt that they have actually incurred. The Convoke Platform is the next step in technology innovation for replacing the current and obsolete information-flow processes. Also, by meeting the requirements of the FDCPA, our industry can reduce the need for more regulation.

The Convoke Platform gives debt collectors immediate access to documents that include the amount of the debt, the name of the original creditor to whom the debt is owed, and the last statement (8% of all FDCPA complaints in 2008 were related to collectors who failed to verify disputed debts). By providing real-time information access to debt collectors, the Convoke Systems Platform alleviates any issues in delivering debt verification to consumers within the required 30-day window (15.7% of all FDCPA complaints in 2008 reported that collectors did not provide the required notice).

The Convoke Platform provides a central repository of original account information from original credit issuers to enable real-time delivery of media and accurate chain of title tracking for debt buyers, third-party agencies and law firms. Convoke serves the financial services and accounts receivable management markets.

Posted by: jprice3 | March 5, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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