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FTC Releases Report on 2003 Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaints

On January 22, 2004, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") released its annual report on consumer fraud and identity theft complaints. The report, entitled "National and State Trends in Fraud & Identity Theft: January - December, 2003", was prepared on the basis of complaints registered by consumers with the FTC and with over 100 other organizations that contribute to the FTC's Consumer Sentinel complaints database.

According to the Report, the FTC received more than half a million consumer complaints (516,740) in 2003, up from 404,000 in 2002. Of these, 214,905 complaints (or 42% of all complaints) related to identity theft and 301, 835 complaints related to fraud. Internet-related frauds continued to rise in 2003, accounting for 55% of all fraud complaints (in contrast to only 45% of all such complaints in 2002). Internet auction fraud and Internet services & computer products fraud accounted for 15% and 6%, respectively, of all complaints.

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