A new report on consumer complaints shows that people in their 20s are more likely to lose money to fraud than senior citizens.
The Federal Trade Commission for the first time in the annual report looked at fraud losses by age group, and found that 40 percent of people in their 20s who reported fraud indicated they lost company. By comparison, just 18 percent of people 70 and older who reported fraud said they lost any money.
But when senior citizens did lose money to a scam, their losses were greater. The median reported loss by seniors — meaning half lost more money and half lost less — was $1092. By comparison, the median loss for people in their 20s was $400.
The report, which includes complaints from 2.7 million consumers, shows the top complaint was about debt collection. Although the number of these complaints dropped, they still made up 23 percent of all complaints.
Identity theft was the second biggest category, with credit card and tax fraud being the two forms of identity theft that were most often reported.
Imposter scams were the third most common scam, and generally the most expensive of any type of fraud. Imposter scams involve someone pretending to be a government official — such as an IRS representatitve, a tech support relative, or someone seeking money on behalf of a loved on in trouble. Nearly one in five people who reported such a scam indicated that they lost money to the fraud.
The mostly widely used form of payment by scammers was wire transfer, and 70 percent of consumers said the scammers had contacted them by phone. The FTC is urging people to be wary of anyone who calls asking for a wire transfer.
“The government will not ask a consumer to wire money, and it is illegal for telemarketers to ask you to pay by wire,” the FTC report states. For more information, visit FTC.gov/Imposters.
The states with the highest rate of fraud complaints were Florida, with 208,443 complaints, a rate of 993 complaints per 100,000 people. Georgia, Nevada, Delaware and Michigan rounded out the top five. Pennsylvania ranked 21st in rate of fraud complaints, with a total of 71,711 complaints and a rate of 560 per 100,000 population.
Pennsylvania ranked slightly higher — 17th among all states — for reports of identity theft. A total of 12,468 complaints of identity theft were received, a rate of 97 per 100,000 people.
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