Isle fraud complaints rise
The state ranked 10th in the nation in fraud complaints per capita
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Hawaii ranked 10th in the United States in most fraud complaints per capita in 2007 with 196.4 complaints per 100,000 people, according to data released yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission. There were 2,520 complaints filed.
The national ranking was an improvement over 2006 when Hawaii was seventh. The 2007 numbers were worse, however, meaning that the problem worsened more in other states than in Hawaii.
For the second straight year, Hawaii ranked 39th nationally in identity theft with 45.9 complaints per 100,000 people. There were 589 complaints filed.
Fraud top ten
Complaints of fraud per 100,000 population
Source: Federal Trade Commission
|8. New Hampshire
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Hawaii is getting better at fighting fraud, relative to other states, but total fraud complaints are on the rise here and nationwide.
The state ranked 10th in the United States in fraud complaints per capita in 2007 with 196.4 complaints per 100,000 people, according to data released yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission. There were 2,520 complaints filed.
Those complaints cost victims about $3.3 million, or an average of $1,450 per complaint, for the 2,252 people who reported amounts they had paid, the agency said.
Hawaii's latest national ranking for fraud is an improvement from 2006, when it was seventh, but the 2007 numbers are worse. In 2006, Hawaii had fewer complaints -- 157.1 -- per 100,000 people and 2,020 complaints.
The top state for most fraud complaints in 2007 was Colorado with 233.8 per 100,000 people while Mississippi had the fewest with 90.6 per 100,000.
Identity theft, the most prevalent fraud category nationwide, wasn't as much of a problem relative to the rest of the nation. Hawaii ranked 39th for the second straight year in identity theft victims per capita, with 45.9 complaints per 100,000 people. There were 589 complaints filed.
For identity theft, Arizona had the most with 137.1 complaints per 100,000 people while the least number of complaints belonged to North Dakota, with 28.5 per 100,000.
Dwight Kealoha, chief executive of the Hawaii Better Business Bureau, said the improvement in the national ranking shows that Hawaii agencies are doing a better job with their aggressive campaigns -- compared to other states -- to make people aware of fraud and scams.
Kealoha also said three laws enacted last year governing how businesses treat Social Security numbers -- and how they protect them and dispose of them -- have been a big help.
For identity theft, there were 589 reported victims in Hawaii in 2007, with credit card fraud the most common type of ID theft, making up 37 percent, or 219 complaints, of the total amount reported.
The second most ID theft category was bank fraud, which includes fraud involving checking and savings accounts and electronic transfers. Those frauds represented 17 percent, or 99 complaints, of the total ID thefts reported.
Other ID thefts were phone or utilities fraud, 13 percent, or 76 complaints; employment-related fraud, 6 percent, or 37 complaints; government documents or benefits fraud, 4 percent, or 25 complaints; and loan fraud, 4 percent, or 25 complaints.
Steve Levins, executive director of the Office of Consumer Protection for the DCCA, questioned whether the FTC data could be misleading because "not every law enforcement (agency) in the country provides data to them," he said.
"If one jurisdiction has 100 percent reportage and one doesn't, then the statistics will be skewed," he said.
Top fraud categories
Most common types of fraud complaints in 2007 from Hawaii consumers, ranked by the percentage of the total, 2,520.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
|1. Shop-at-home/catalog sales
|2. Prizes/sweepstakes and lotteries
|3. Internet services
|4. Internet auctions
|5. Foreign money offers