(WHAS11) -- Once again, identity theft tops the annual list of consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. Good Morning Kentuckiana’s Andy Treinen has the full list, and tips to avoid becoming a victim of any of the top scams, in today's Consumer Watch.
The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2 million consumer complaints in 2012, about half of them were related to some type of fraud and those complaints cost Americans more than $1.4 billion.
The most common complaint to the FTC was identity theft, which accounted for about one in every five complaints. Next, debt collection, followed by complaints regarding banks and lenders, shop-at-home and catalog sales, and rounding out the top five, prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries.
When it comes to identity theft, remember scammers aren't above digging through dumpsters for personal information, so shred sensitive documents, especially now, during tax season.
To avoid falling prey to most other scams that involve fraud, heed the oft-repeated warning to never reply to emails, phone calls, or text messages that ask for personal or financial information. These often come disguised as an account alert, so if you're really worried, follow up with a credit or debit card company yourself.
And research any company before doing business with them, a quick online search for the company name plus a search term like "scam," "complaint," or "fraud," can save trouble later on. If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org