Identity theft has been the leading consumer crime complaint in recent years, with the FTC reporting more than 279,000 complaints in 2011, a jump from 250,000 in 2010. The number includes data from the F.B.I., state law enforcement agencies and private groups like the Better Business Bureau.
From the New York Times,
Those numbers are “probably only the tip of the iceberg,” said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America, an umbrella group of about 300 nonprofit organizations. There is no requirement for centralized reporting, and many victims are too embarrassed to tell their sad tales.
[...] The FBI warns that “senior citizens especially should be aware of fraud schemes.” It says: “People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits.”