Identity theft is a growing problem in the United States. According to a recent study by Javelin Strategy and Research, someone in America falls victim to identity theft every two seconds. The study also found a significant increase in the number of fraud cases each year.
While the numbers prove that safeguarding your identity is crucial, there are some areas of the country where it might be even more important. Below you’ll find identity theft state rankings. If you live in one of these states listed below, you may be at a greater risk for fraud.
Many studies have listed Florida as the No. 1 state for identity fraud. According to Equifax, this state has a rate of 361.3 fraud complaints for every 100,000 people, nearly twice the amount of other states. Equifax credits these statistics to the large numbers of tourists as well as population demographics that are at high risk for identity theft, such as elderly people.
USA Today includes Nevada as one of the states with the highest number of fraud complaints, which is about 761 per 100,000 people. According to the article, Nevada was among the states hit hardest by the housing crisis during the great recession, and it has taken a long time for the state to bounce back The economy there still struggles to recover, and also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Financial strain has a significant impact of fraudulent crime and identity theft.
The FTC Consumer Sentinel has listed Georgia as the state with the second-highest rate of identity theft and fraud cases, after Florida. The state had about 247 complaints for every 100,000 people, many of which had to do with government fraud or debt collection. Georgia also is reported to have the second highest number of student loan debts in the country.
Arizona is listed as having almost 40,000 fraud complaints last year alone. Economic and housing market problems may have a significant impact on these numbers as many of the fraudulent instances had to do with debt collecting and predatory or scam loans. Arizona had one of the worst housing market declines in the country between 2007 and 2012, as well as one of the highest foreclosure rates. It is still recovering.
California falls closely behind Florida and Georgia, and experienced about 123 identity theft complaints per 100,000 residents. As with the other states, Equifax reported that states with unemployment and debt surges are at a greater risk for fraud and identity theft. Another factor to blame is the fact that California saw a significant increase in foreclosures and unemployment a couple of years ago.
While these states are among those with higher risks for financial fraud and identity theft, the threat is there no matter where you live. Never share personal information with a source you don’t completely trust. Keep track of all of your financial accounts and immediately report any suspicious activity. Use a tool like LifeLock’s risk calculator to determine where you stand.
About the Author: Maria Springs is a writer, philanthropist, animal lover, Earth advocate and citizen of the world. She has an affinity for public radio and three-legged dogs.