With the widespread use of the internet, identity theft has become much more common. The number of identity theft reports shot up from about 86,000 in 2001 to a peak of 490,000 reports in 2015, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2018, there were 445,000 reported cases, and Americans lost over $1 billion to fraud associated with identity theft.
Unlike other types of property crime, which are concentrated in certain areas, identity thieves can target victims from across the globe. Yet identity theft reports are not evenly dispersed across the country. The state with the highest concentration of identity theft reported more than four times as many incidents per capita as the state with the least.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book to identify the states with the highest and lowest rates of identity theft.
There are many different ways that identity thieves can use someone’s personal information for their own benefit. Victims have reported that identity thieves targeted their credit cards, taxes, utilities, bank accounts, loans, government benefits, and more. The most common type in each state is credit card-related identity theft.
It can be difficult to find a pattern in the data that can explain why some states face more identity theft than others. Many of the states with the highest incidence of identity theft rank among the best states to live in. Yet many others rank among the worst.