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Charity Fraud Less Than One Percent of All 2007 Complaints

(Feb. 19, 2008) While public concerns remain high, charity fraud ranked 20th on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) list of complaints in 2007.

The FTC received 1,843 complaints about charitable solicitations, accounting for less than 1 percent of the 813,899 total complaints.

For the seventh consecutive year, identity theft was the No. 1 consumer complaint category, accounting for 32 percent of all complaints. No other category accounted for more than 10 percent of complaints.

Following identity theft was shop-at-home/catalog sales (8 percent of all complaints), Internet services (5 percent), foreign money offers (4 percent) and prizes/sweepstakes and lotteries (4 percent). Debt management and credit counseling complaints ranked 18th, representing less than 1 percent of all complaints.

“These results put the issue of charity fraud in some perspective compared to other types of wrongdoing,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO. “Of course, this list in no way lessens the impact of charity fraud, which damages not just the organizations involved but all of the charitable sector. We have to continue to work hard to stop charity fraud, but we also have to educate the public that almost all of the charities they encounter will be legitimate organizations that use their money wisely and in the manner intended.”

The FTC collects consumer fraud complaints from more than 125 organizations and makes them available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad. In 2007, the FTC received almost 140,000 more consumer fraud complaints than in 2006. These additional complaints came from numerous data contributors, primarily the Better Business Bureaus around the United States.

The FTC’s full report, Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data January-December 2007, can be found on the FTC website.

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