Identity theft in the United States has become a concern. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network report, the number of reported cases more than doubled from 2019 to 2020. One possible reason for the surge is the pandemic and the legislation that included more than $5 trillion in various government benefits to help financially strapped Americans. This has provided an opportunity for fraud for scammers on a larger scale. (Here are some of the largest cases of COVID-19 relief fraud.)
Retail financial services research company, Javelin Strategy, estimates that thieves swiped $52 billion last year. In 2021, the FTC received more than 1.4 million reports of identity theft, with the most likely victims between 30 to 39 years old.
For some metropolitan areas in the U.S., identity theft has become a scourge. To identify the metropolitan areas with the most identity theft, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed security software McAfee’s report, A Guide to Identity Theft Statistics for 2022, which included ranking of the 20 metro areas with the highest number of identity theft reports per 100,000 residents. The total population and median household income figures for each metro area come from the American Community Survey 2020 and are five year averages.
There are five types of identity theft: financial identity theft — which involves stealing of a credit card number; medical identity theft, which is swiping personal information to get health care services or prescription drugs; criminal identity theft, which involves using someone’s name when arrested; synthetic identity theft, which includes creating a bogus ID for a birth certificate or Social Security card using someone’s real information to apply for a loan; and child identity theft, which is the use of a minor’s personal information to commit identity theft.
Among the metro areas on the list, there were at least 675 reports of identity theft per 100,000 residents. The city with the most identity theft per capita had a whopping 1,981 identity theft reports per 100,000. (Also see, cities where the larceny theft rate is soaring.)
Twelve states are represented on the list of the 20 metropolitan areas reporting the most identity theft. Nine of the 20 metropolitan areas are in the Midwest, including Kansas and Illinois, and four of the top 10 cities with the most identity theft per capita are in Kansas. Eight metropolitan areas on the list had more than 1,000 identity theft reports per 100,000 people.
Click here to see 20 big cities with the worst identity theft problem
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