Identity is a huge problem in America. It cost people $56 billion last year, as 49 million people were victims, according to the 2021 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research. Among the most common types are digital streaming, e-commerce, and electronic payments. While experts give consumers ways to stop the scams, the problem continues to grow. John Buzzard, Lead Analyst, Fraud & Security, at Javelin Strategy & Research commented:
“The pandemic inspired a major shift in how criminals approach fraud. Identity fraud has evolved and now reflects the lengths criminals will take to directly target consumers in order to steal their personally identifiable information.”
Identity fraud problems vary from place to place geographically. However, there is no absolutely hard evidence why this is so. There are several theories.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book to identify the state with the most identity theft.
In 2020, by far the most common type of identity theft involved people fraudulently applying for government benefits. As the federal government offered loans to businesses and additional unemployment benefits because of the pandemic, there were nearly 400,000 reports of people fraudulently applying for or receiving benefits — a nearly 3,000% increase from the previous year.
In most cases, the person reporting fraud did not lose any money. Still, nearly three-quarters of a million Americans, just over a third of cases, were defrauded out of some money. The median loss in these cases was $311, yet nearly 40,000 Americans reported losing over $10,000 in some kind of criminal scam.
There does not appear to be any common through line between the states with the most identity theft per capita. The states near the top of the list run the gamut between big and small populations, high and low income, and they are located all across the country.
The state with the most identify theft is Kansas. Here are the details:
> Identity theft complaints: 1,483 per 100,000 (total: 43,211)
> Median loss for all types of fraud: $250 (13th lowest – tied)
> Most common form of ID theft: Government documents or benefits fraud (88% of total)
> Second most common form of ID theft: Other identity theft (5% of total)