Because identity theft can occur online, with criminals cracking passwords to get into banking apps or credit card websites, it might seem like a victim’s location doesn’t matter. But identity theft statistics suggest otherwise.
As we’ve reported in the past, identity theft can happen to anyone, and there are some groups — e.g. children or seniors — who are especially vulnerable. Researchers, however, are starting to see trends showing that certain states are more susceptible than others.
Here are the top 10 worst states for identity theft in 2014, according to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, which collects fraud and identity theft statistics nationwide:
A Look at the Top Three States: Florida, Washington, and Oregon
- Florida: Florida has topped this list for the past few years, and there are several factors that tend to lead to higher identity theft statistics for the state. Not only is Florida one of the most populous states, but the state’s large number of retirees are often targets of medical identity theft, bill collection scams and tax identity theft.
- Washington: Although Florida had the highest number of fraud complaints in 2014, Washington state had the highest percentage of identity theft, at 30 percent of all fraud cases (the national average is 13 percent). Identity theft in Washington doubled from 2013 to 2014, likely due in large part to two data breaches reported by locally based Albertsons stores.
- Oregon: Oregon reported the most identity thefts involving government documents or benefits. (Over 60 percent of identity theft complaints were in this category, compared to the national average of 39 percent.) According to an article in USA Today, one explanation for the higher percentage could be increased reporting by state residents following a major data breach by the Oregon Employment Department.
It’s a National Issue
The differences in types of identity theft among the highest-ranking states highlights the numerous ways that thieves attempt to get information. From tax identity theft that relies on falsified tax returns to credit card number theft that comes as a result of a data breach, identity theft statistics show that the problem is truly a national concern.
Although some states seem especially prone to identity theft, the fact is that residents of any state, town or neighborhood can become part of the identity theft statistics. Protect yourself by employing strong passwords on your digital devices, being suspicious of any information requests by phone or email, and maintaining safe online behavior.
Also, consider adding another layer of protection by enrolling in IdentityForce’s UltraSecure+Credit. Your personal information will be monitored 24/7, and you’ll be notified immediately of any suspicious activity. If anything does happen, IdentityForce will be with you every step of the way, so you can quickly restore your identity.