On Thursday, February 26, 2009, the FTC released its list of top consumer complaints and for the ninth year in a row, identity theft was the number one issue for consumers. See here for the FTC’s release. Out of 1,223,370 complaints made to law enforcement organizations, identity theft accounted for 313,982 complaints, around 26% or all consumer complaints in 2008. This represents a 20% increase in identity theft complaints since 2007.
If the FTC’s report is any indication of things to come, it could suggest that the FTC will be moving forward with aggressive plans to enforce federal identity theft regulations on May 1, 2009, as promised. After Massachusetts revised its identity theft regulations to delay implementation until January 1, 2010 (which we reported here), many businesses have been hoping to see some relief from the looming federal deadline. Given the sharp uptick in identity theft incidents (which we reported in detail here), indications that the Obama administration wants to aggressively pursue information security (which we reported here), and the fact that the federal regulations are less onerous than those adopted in Massachusetts, the FTC may be less inclined to postpone enforcement beyond May 1st.
- The FTC chart of top consumer complaints.
- The FTC’s detailed report on consumer complaints in 2008 is available here (.pdf) and from the FTC’s website here (.pdf)
- The FTC has a wealth of data and analysis from prior years available here.