For the period between 2000 and 2014, the most common U.S. consumer complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was related to identity theft. Even in 2015, when complaints about debt collections took over the top spot, identity theft complaints rose 47% year over year, primarily from complaints of tax identity theft.
We noted earlier this week that the Identity Theft Resource Center has logged 901 data breaches through the first 11 months of this year. This year’s total is already 27% higher than at the same point last year and has exceed the record total of 783 for all of 2015.
Researchers at WalletHub have identified the U.S. states that are most likely to be exposed to and victimized by identity theft and fraud. The company’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia on six indicators of susceptibility to these crimes and ranked the states from most to least likely to be attacked by hackers.
The 10 most vulnerable states are:
- Washington, D.C.
The 10 states ranked least vulnerable are:
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- North Dakota
Four states — Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Missouri — tied for the most identity theft complaints per capita while Hawaii had the fewest. Two states — the District of Columbia and Massachusetts — tied for the highest average loss amount due to online identity theft, while Montana posted the lowest average loss.
The four states tied with the most fraud complaints were the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia and Michigan, while North Dakota reported the fewest fraud complaints. Two states — Hawaii and Oregon — tied for the highest average loss per fraud complaint, and Maine showed the smallest average loss.
WalletHub offered these tips to help avoid identity theft and fraud: email security; credit monitoring; use account alerts and make sure contact data are up to date; and use common sense when online. For more details, more information and the methodology used for the survey, visit the WalletHub website.