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CONSUMER FRAUD UP 20 PERCENT

ID theft again tops the list of case types.

Americans reported 20 percent more cases of consumer fraud in 2007 than the year before, with nearly a third of complaints related to identity theft, the government said Wednesday.

Out of some 810,000 cases of consumer fraud reported, the Federal Trade Commission said there were more than 258,000 instances of identity theft, the top complaint for the eighth year in a row. Most of the increase in complaints was from other types of fraud, including shop-at-home and catalog sales, Internet services and "foreign money offers."

Consumer frauds, not including identity theft, cost consumers about $1.24-billion, up from $1.18-billion in 2006. The FTC did not estimate losses due to identity theft, which involves the use of personal information such as credit card or Social Security numbers to commit fraud or other crimes. It made up 32 percent of the total complaints, the FTC said.

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