by Miles Morley, Legal Assistant
The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) has recently published the 2014 version of their annual data book for fraud and identity theft. CSN is a secure online database of millions of consumer complaints that are available only to law enforcement. CSN includes reports received by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. CSN received over 2.5 million complaints, which included identity theft, fraud, and other types of documents in 2014. CSN reports that consumers paid over $1.7 billion in fraudulent manners, just from the complaints received, and that the median amount paid was $498. Of those that reported method of initial contact, fifty-four percent reported use of a telephone, twenty-three percent reported e-mail, and four percent reported mail as the initial source of contact.
Michigan was ranked fifth for the rate of fraud with an average of 749.2 complaints per 100,000 population and a total of 74,244 complaints. Debt collection (19%), telephone and mobile services (14%), and impostor scams (7%) were the most common categories reported. Michigan ranked sixth for identity theft complaints with a rate of 104.3 per 100,000 population, and a total of 10,338 complaints. Government documents or benefits fraud (42%), phone or utilities fraud (22%), and credit card fraud (14%) were the most common identity theft categories reported. Michigan residents paid almost $24.5 million dollars, with an average of $1,418 per reported instance.
If you believe you could have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, it is important to contact your local law enforcement agency. If you have additional questions regarding fraud, please contact the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors, a program of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. at 800.347.5297.
Miles Morley is a legal assistant and website administrator at Elder Law of Michigan, and has been a member of the Elder Law team since August 2014.
Miles holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Baker College of Owosso, Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Lake Superior State University, and graduated with his Juris Doctorate in 2013 from Michigan State University College of Law.
Before joining the Elder Law of Michigan team, he served as an intern at the United States Coast Guard Headquarters . As a legal assistant at ELM, Miles provides legal advice to Michigan Seniors on a wide-variety of areas, including Medicare/Medicaid. As a website administrator at ELM, Miles is responsible for technology and programming projects.