10 States With the Most Identity Theft
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 149.1
> Total identity theft complaints: 15,230 (9th highest)
> Fraud and other complaints per 100,000: 1,208 (4th highest)
> Avg. amount stolen: $873 (13th lowest)
In Georgia, identity theft is punishable by a maximum fine of $100,000 and up to 10 years in prison. Still, there were 15,230 identity theft complaints in the state in 2015 alone, equal to 149.1 complaints per 100,000 residents, one of the highest incident rates in the country. More than two-thirds of identity theft complaints in the state were in the Atlanta metro area, where the identity theft rate of 185.6 complaints per 100,000 residents is far higher than the statewide rate. The typical victim of identity theft lost $873, considerably less than the $1,154 nationwide average financial loss per incident.
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 158.1
> Total identity theft complaints: 15,684 (7th highest)
> Fraud and other complaints per 100,000: 1,144 (5th highest)
> Avg. amount stolen: $820 (7th lowest)
Nationwide, credit card fraud is more common than phone or utilities fraud. Michigan, however, bucks the trend. Only 12% of identity theft in Michigan is related to credit cards, and 18% is classified as phone or utilities fraud, in contrast with the respective national rates of 16% and 10%. The vast majority of identity theft in Michigan occurs in the Detroit metro area, where the identity theft rate of 220.4 complaints per 100,000 area residents is far greater than the statewide rate of 158.1 complaints per 100,000. The incidence of identity theft in Detroit is also one of the highest in the nation.
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 158.7
> Total identity theft complaints: 20,414 (6th highest)
> Fraud and other complaints per 100,000: 517 (9th highest)
> Avg. amount stolen: $907 (15th lowest)
Identity theft is a felony in Illinois. An individual convicted of stealing the identity of a member of the armed services for financial gain faces even stricter felony charges in Illinois. This does not appear to be much of a deterrent, however. There were 158.7 reported cases of identity theft for every 100,000 Illinois residents in 2015, more than in all but four other states. Roughly half of all identity theft cases in the state were related to government documents — primarily fraudulent tax filings — or benefits fraud. Loan fraud was the least common type of identity theft in Illinois, accounting for 3% of all complaints.
> Identity theft complaints per 100,000: 183.2
> Total identity theft complaints: 11,006 (12th highest)
> Fraud and other complaints per 100,000: 749 (13th highest)
> Avg. amount stolen: $973 (24th lowest)
Of the 44,985 fraud complaints in Maryland, 11,006 were of identity theft. A similar number, 11,314, were debt collection scams, and together the two fraud methods accounted for close to 40% of all fraud complaints in the state. Identity theft is a relatively new crime, with incidents increasing dramatically only after the proliferation of electronic devices in the age of the Internet. Identity fraud became a crime in Maryland only in 1999. In 2007, Maryland became one of the first states to implement a credit freeze option for individuals victimized by fraud. Credit card fraud accounted for 14% of all identity theft cases in Maryland, trailing government documents and benefits methods, which accounted for 57% of all reported cases.