Information courtesy of Lisa Madigan, attorney general.
Breakdown of Identity Theft Complaints
Broken down by type, the complaints to Madigan's office concerning identity theft demonstrate the range of issues confronting victims of this rapidly-growing fraud. Specifically, the ID theft consumer complaints involved: Credit cards (1,602 complaints), including reports of the takeover of an existing credit card account by a thief and also instances of a thief opening a new credit card account in the name of an ID theft victim; Data breaches (1,088), in which personal information has been compromised due to a security breach; Phone, internet and utility company complaints (638), concerning fraudulent wireless or landline phone, Internet, gas, electric and water accounts opened in the ID theft victim's name; Bank fraud complaints (383), including complaints regarding stolen checks, new bank accounts opened in an ID theft victim's name and fraudulent withdrawals of money from victims' bank accounts; and Employment (279), in which a thief uses a victim's social security number to obtain employment.
Breakdown of Credit and Financial Services Complaints
In addition to the 2,231 complaints against collection agencies, other credit and financial services-related complaints to Madigan's office involved: Credit cards (1,014), including complaints about unauthorized membership club charges appearing on credit card accounts, balance transfer and introductory rate problems, higher interest rates than expected and unexpected fees; Residential and mortgage lending (911), concerning reports of lenders lying to homeowners to put them into loans they could not afford, complaints against mortgage rescue businesses for misleading homeowners facing foreclosure and disputes about escrow accounts; Finance and loan companies (385), featuring complaints that sellers of consumer installment loans (a product similar to payday loans) misrepresented or failed to disclose the high costs and fees of their products; and Banks and financial institutions (286), including complaints about high late fees, unauthorized withdrawals due to fraud, and overdrafts caused by banking errors.
The Top 10 consumer complaints for 2007 are as follows (the figures listed below do not reflect all of the complaints): Identity Theft-6,388 Credit/Financial Services- 5,267 Promotions and Schemes- 3,168 Construction/Home Improvement Telecommunications-2,537 Motor Vehicles/Used Auto Sales Mail Order- 1,390 Utilities- 908 Motor Vehicle/Non-Warranty Repair-748 Fraud Against Business- 722
For information on all consumer issues, consumers can visit Madigan's Web site at illinoisattorneygeneral.gov or call one of the Consumer Fraud Hotlines or the Identity Theft Hotline at the numbers listed below. Chicago Consumer Fraud Hotline: 1-800-386-5438 Springfield Consumer Fraud Hotline: 1-800-243-0618 Carbondale Consumer Fraud Hotline: 1-800-243-0607 Spanish Language Hotline: 1-866-310-8398 Identity Theft Hotline: 1-866-999-5630 Homeowners' Referral Helpline: 1-866-544-7151