Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

Within one year, consumer complaints increased 24 percent. Over 1.8 million gripes were received by the Federal Trade Commission in 2011. So, what are some of the top consumer complaints? I’m Kristin Arnold with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

For the 12th year in a row, identity theft topped the list of consumer complaints. A quarter of those complaints involved tax or wage-related fraud. The first step to protecting against identity theft is safeguarding your Social Security number. Never carry it with you … keep it in a safe place, preferably locked up in a safe at home. Check your FREE credit reports frequently and make sure you have strong passwords to all of your financial accounts.

The second biggest consumer complaint was directed at debt collectors. Over 180-thousand complaints were filed … most of them fingered third-party debt collectors, the rest involved collection efforts from creditors.

Repeated and continual harassment, falsely threatened lawsuits, profane language, and failure to identify themselves as a debt collector are all violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. None of which a consumer should have to endure.

To read what other top consumer complaints made the list, visit Bankrate.com. I’m Kristin Arnold.