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States Where Identity Theft Runs Rampant

GOBankingRates Logo By John Csiszar of GOBankingRates | Slide 1 of 51: Imagine coming home from a long day’s work, and as you’re going through the mail, you see a letter from a law firm. After opening it, you realize that you’re being sued for an outstanding debt by a credit card company you never use. At that moment, the phone rings — it’s a bill collector, seeking payment from you for a different outstanding debt that you never incurred. What is going on? Sadly, this scenario — along with other identity theft scams — affected nearly 3 million people in 2018, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network, which is an online Federal Trade Commission database. To drill down into which states are the most prone to identity theft, GOBankingRates used information from the 2018 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book to find state-by-state trends about the frequency and type of identity theft scams. Some of the data turned out to be eye-opening. For example, New York didn’t rank in the top 10 for identity theft in terms of consumer reports per 100,000 residents. In fact, the Peach State was actually the worst in the nation. Overall, the most common types of identity theft include credit card fraud, phone or utilities fraud, employment or tax-related fraud, government documents and benefits fraud and more. As evidenced in the study, however, certain types of fraud are more common in individual states. Identity theft is a painful but important problem to deal with because it can have far-reaching and devastating effects. A fraudster with your identity can impersonate you, open accounts in your name and even drain your bank accounts. While you shouldn’t have an irrational fear of identity theft, you should take proactive steps to help prevent it:  Change your passwords often. Don’t share your personal information. Shred important documents when you dispose of them. Install appropriate antivirus and security software on all of your devices.  And if you live in one of the worst states for identity theft, you may want to practice extra diligence and look into getting identity theft protection services. Last updated: Oct. 27, 2020

Imagine coming home from a long day’s work, and as you’re going through the mail, you see a letter from a law firm. After opening it, you realize that you’re being sued for an outstanding debt by a credit card company you never use. At that moment, the phone rings — it’s a bill collector, seeking payment from you for a different outstanding debt that you never incurred. What is going on?

Sadly, this scenario — along with other identity theft scams — affected nearly 3 million people in 2018, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network, which is an online Federal Trade Commission database. To drill down into which states are the most prone to identity theft, GOBankingRates used information from the 2018 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book to find state-by-state trends about the frequency and type of identity theft scams.

Some of the data turned out to be eye-opening. For example, New York didn’t rank in the top 10 for identity theft in terms of consumer reports per 100,000 residents. In fact, the Peach State was actually the worst in the nation. Overall, the most common types of identity theft include credit card fraud, phone or utilities fraud, employment or tax-related fraud, government documents and benefits fraud and more. As evidenced in the study, however, certain types of fraud are more common in individual states.

Identity theft is a painful but important problem to deal with because it can have far-reaching and devastating effects. A fraudster with your identity can impersonate you, open accounts in your name and even drain your bank accounts. While you shouldn’t have an irrational fear of identity theft, you should take proactive steps to help prevent it:

  • Change your passwords often.
  • Don’t share your personal information.
  • Shred important documents when you dispose of them.
  • Install appropriate antivirus and security software on all of your devices.

And if you live in one of the worst states for identity theft, you may want to practice extra diligence and look into getting identity theft protection services.

Last updated: Oct. 27, 2020

© Marco_Piunti / Getty Images/iStockphoto

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