When you think of identity theft, you probably think of hackers and cybercriminals who lurk in the dark corners of the Internet. You’d be right, but not all identity theft happens online.
As the ubiquity of data breaches continues, it’s safe to assume that your Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is now in the hands of fraudsters. If you haven’t been targeted yet, it may just be a matter of time.
Gemalto reported that of the 1,765 breach incidents that occurred in 2017, identity theft was the main motive, accounting for 69 percent. This certainly fueled the 16.7 million U.S. consumers who fell victim to ID theft – an all-time record. What’s even scarier is that more than 1 million children also had their identities stolen.
Where You’re Most Likely to Have Your Identity Stolen
After analyzing data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), ASecureLife.com published a study outlining the number of victims per capita, by state, for 2017. Here are the top five riskiest states for identity theft:
Ranking at the top is Nevada, who had the most identity theft victims per capita. It also had the highest cost per victim of any of the top five states. If you’ve seen the latest in our Real Identity Theft Stories blog series, it recounts how a Reno, NV man stole 8,000 identities by pirating a database of contacts from his employer.
Four out of the top five states were ranked either “Risky” or “Riskiest” in a Webroot study that analyzed cyber behaviors by state. Risky online behavior like poor password strength, visiting unsecure websites, and not using antivirus software can make consumers more vulnerable to cybercrime and identity theft.
Demographics also play a factor in identity theft risk. For instance, Florida, a state with a high retiree population, ranked 7th. The elderly are often targeted by identity thieves because they have accumulated more assets in their lifetime, and may be alone or lonely. Also, our elderly population may be vulnerable due to changes that can occur in aging brains, according to recent research from the Keck School of Medicine. On the flip side, it’s also been reported that Millennials fall for more scams than the elderly.
Colorado ranked second on the list, with 385 victims experiencing more than $1.7 million in total losses.
California is the only state to make the top five for the past two years in a row. There have been a number of scams hitting Southern California, including those impacting all age groups.
The Costliest States for Identity Theft
The study also noted where having your identity stolen was the most financially damaging.
Although comparatively low in terms of risk, the following states reported alarmingly high costs per victim:
- Ohio – $13,800
- North Dakota – $13,200
- West Virginia – $10,700
- New Jersey – $7,900
- Nebraska – $7,800
Not many people have that kind of money saved for an emergency. In fact, a recent report from Bankrate indicated that only 39 percent of Americans would be able to pay for a $1,000 unplanned expense. Can you imagine finding out your identity has been compromised to the tune of $10,000 or more?
Regardless of Where You Live, the Odds Aren’t Good
If you don’t see your state listed among the riskiest, it doesn’t mean you should take comfort. There’s a new victim of identity theft every 2 seconds and about 1 in 15 people become victims of identity fraud every year. In today’s digital world, cybercriminals and identity thieves can target us from anywhere, anytime.
Put your trust in the industry’s best identity theft protection to help keep your personal information secure and your peace of mind intact. If you are compromised, we’ll handle every detail, phone call, and piece of paperwork until your good name is restored. Not to mention, you will be covered by our $1 million insurance policy to cover any out-of-pocket losses.
Act now to protect yourself and those you care about the most. Get started with a 14-day, Personal Free Trial.