Ten States With the Most Fraud Complaints

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10. Texas
> Complaints per 100,000 population: 592.2
> Total complaints: 156,611 (3rd most)
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 88.0 (8th most)
> 2007-2012 home value change: +6.9% (9th best)

Texas residents were some of the most likely Americans to be fraud victims in 2013. Scams cost Texans a total of $101.4 million last year, more than all but two other states. Auto-related complaints, including misrepresentation of sale and financing offers and issues with newly bought cars, were among the most common consumer complaints in Texas, accounting for 5% of all fraud reports. This may be due in part to residents’ burdensome auto loan debt. The average resident had more than $21,000 in auto loan debt, more than in any state except for Alaska.

9. New Jersey
> Complaints per 100,000 population: 595.3
> Total complaints: 52,977 (10th most)
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 80.6 (12th most)
> 2007-2012 home value change: -16.3% (11th worst)

New Jersey had more than 7,000 reports of identity theft last year, 18% of which classified as credit card fraud. Predatory lending and other bank complaints were also common in the state, with 5,316 complaints reported. Homes in New Jersey were also among the most expensive in the nation that year, with a median value valued at a median price of $300,000. As a result, New Jersey had the fourth highest average mortgage debt in the United States, at $228,728 per person. Residents also had among the most credit card debt in the country.

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8. Arizona
> Complaints per 100,000 population: 600.0
> Total complaints: 39,757 (13th most)
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 91.2 (7th most)
> 2007-2012 home value change: -36.3% (2nd worst)

Arizona had 39,757 total complaints last year. Many of these were associated with predatory lending and debt collection practices, which may be linked to Arizona’s particularly bad housing market. Home values plummeted 36.3% between 2007 and 2012, the second worst decline nationally. In addition, the foreclosure rate in Arizona was among the worst in the nation last year, with one out of every 80 homes in foreclosure. Incidents of fraud cost Arizona residents more than $30 million in 2013, among the most nationwide.

7. California
> Complaints per 100,000 population: 629.4
> Total complaints: 241,274 (the most)
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 105.4 (3rd most)
> 2007-2012 home value change: -34.4% (4th worst)

California residents reported more than 40,000 cases of identity theft in 2013 — more than in any other state. Some 23% of identity theft complaints had to do with government documents or benefits fraud. Debt collection and bank and lending complaints were also among the most common reports in California, accounting for 13% and 10% of all complaints, respectively. Because of their high debt levels, Californians are likely ideal targets for predatory lending. As of the beginning of this year, the average California resident had a $288,989 mortgage, second highest nationwide. Consumers reported a total of $238.1 million lost in fraud schemes, more than in any other state in 2013.

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6. Maryland
> Complaints per 100,000 population: 667.7
> Total complaints: 39,582 (14th most)
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 95.5 (6th most)
> 2007-2012 home value change: -19.3% (7th worst)

There were more than 5,660 reports of identity theft in the state last year, 19% of which were categorized as credit card fraud, a higher proportion than in all but a few states. Residents had the highest student loan debt as of the beginning of this year, with $32,470 on average. Credit card debt was also much higher than in most other states, according to Credit Karma. Also, 14% of all fraud and other complaints were made against banks and lenders, the most of any state in the nation last year. The state’s housing market may be making residents more susceptible to fraud. Home values fell by nearly 20% between 2007 and 2012, more than in all but a handful of states.