by Miles Morley, MiCAFE Community Partner Liaison
The Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) has released their 2015 Data Book. CSN is a database of consumer identity theft and fraud complaints. The complaints are gathered from federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Internal Revenue Service, state law enforcement organizations, such as the Michigan Office of the Attorney General, and non-governmental organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, PrivacyStar, and the National Consumers League. The Data Book is a yearly report that lists the number and percentage of fraud and identity theft complaints by category and location.
CSN received around 3,000,000 complaints in 2015, which accounts for 500,000 more complains that were received in 2014. Debt collection was the top complaint category nationally, accounting for twenty-nine percent of all complaints. The next largest categories were identity theft (16%), impostor scams (11%), and telephone/mobile services (9%). Fifty-three percent of complaints included an amount paid. The total amount paid was around $765 million or $400 per complaint on average.
Michigan had the third highest rate of complaints per capita with 130,000 complaints in for 2015, including 113,474 fraud complaints and 15,684 identity theft complaints. This is a substantial increase from the 84,500 complaints reported for Michigan in 2014. The most common complaint categories in Michigan were debt collection (57%), telephone and mobile services (14%), and impostor scams (8%). Government documents or benefits fraud was the most common type of identity theft reported in Michigan, accounting for fifty-two percent of complaints.
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, please contact the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors at 800.347.5297 and our hotline attorneys will be happy to answer your questions.