America’s Ten Most Fraud-Ridden States

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5. Arizona
> Population: 6,392,017
> Total Complaints: 30,548
> Complaints Per 100,000 Population: 477.9

Arizona has the second highest rate of identity theft complaints, with 102.5 per 100,000 residents. The state has the six highest level of all other consumer complaints, 375.5 per 100,000 residents.  Arizona also has the third highest rate of fraud complaints regarding both debt collection (57.4 complaints per 100,000 people) and prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries (28.2 complaints per 100,000).

4. Nevada
> Population: 2,700,551
> Total Complaints: 13,180
> Complaints Per 100,000 Population: 488

Nevada had the sixth highest level of identity theft complaints in 2010, with 89.7 per 100,000 people, and the third highest level of fraud and other complaints, with 398.3 per 100,000 people.  Nevada also has the highest rate of residents who lost money as a result of fraud (88%) – losing $3,434 on average.  No other state paid an average greater than $3,000.

3. Maryland
> Population: 5,773,552
> Total Complaints: 28,365
> Complaints Per 100,000 Population: 491.3

Maryland had the second greatest level of fraud reports, excluding identity theft, with 408.4 complaints per 100,000 residents.  Alternately, the state ranks ninth for identity theft complaints, with 82.9 complaints per 100,000 population.  Maryland has the fifth highest rate of fraud regarding debt collection, 56.2 complaints per 100,000 population. Debt collection fraud is the most common type of complaint in the state – 3,243 complaints involved it last year.

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2. Florida
> Population: 18,801,310
> Total Complaints: 92,439
> Complaints Per 100,000 Population: 491.7

Florida has the highest per capita rate of identity theft complaints in the country.  In 2010, the state had 114.8 complaints per 100,000 population.  The greatest percentage of these complaints, 24%, involved government documents or benefits fraud.  The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan statistical area, also known as the South Florida metropolitan area or the Miami metropolitan area, has the highest rate of identity theft complaints in the state, and country, with 184.2 complaints per 100,000 residents.

1. Colorado
> Population: 5,029,196
> Total Complaints: 24,973
> Complaints Per 100,000 Population: 496.6

Colorado is the state with the highest per capita rate of fraud complaints, excluding identity theft.  In 2010, the state had 417.8 complaints per 100,000 population.  The Greeley metropolitan statistical area, or Weld County, has the second highest rate of fraud complaints in the country, with 714.7 per 100,000 population, and the Boulder metropolitan statistical area, or Boulder County, has the fourth highest rate, with 674.2 per 100,000 population.  Colorado also has the highest rate of fraud relating to Internet services on this list, with 33.9 complaints per 100,000 population.  No other state has more than 30 complaints.  “It really doesn’t surprise me,” fraud prevention coordinator for the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office Mason Finks was quoted as saying in the Aurora Sentinel. “We were number two a few years ago for identity theft complaints and we tend to be in the upper five to 10 position in a lot of white-collar crime or financial crime. And I’m not sure why that is.”

Charles B. Stockdale and Douglas A. McIntyre
douglasamcintyre@247wallst.com

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