How Vulnerable Is Your State to Identity Theft & Fraud?
With December being National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month and holiday shopping season still in full swing, leaving millions of Americans susceptible to data breaches, the personal finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis that identifies 2015’s States Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft & Fraud.
To measure the level of susceptibility to such crimes for each state, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across nine key metrics.
Our data set ranges from the total number of identity-theft complaints per 100,000 residents to total cybercrime-related dollar losses per capita.
Least Vulnerable States Most Vulnerable States
1 South Dakota 42 Illinois
2 Hawaii 43 Texas
3 Maine 44 Delaware
4 West Virginia 45 Washington
5 Kentucky 46 Georgia
6 Iowa 47 Arizona
7 Montana 48 California
8 North Dakota 49 Nevada
9 Wyoming 50 Florida
10 Idaho 51 District of Columbia
- The total number of identity theft complaints per 100,000 residents in Florida is five times higher than in South Dakota.
- The number of credit-card fraud complaints per 100,000 residents in Florida is six times higher than in South Dakota.
- The number of bank fraud complaints per 100,000 residents in Florida is five times higher than in North Dakota.
- The number of employment fraud complaints per 100,000 residents in Arizona is 28 times higher than in Maine.
- The total cybercrime-related dollar losses per capita in Nevada is 7 times higher than in Maine.
A Few Quick Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft & Fraud
Emphasize Email Security
It’s obviously important to use strong passwords for all financial accounts, but you may not realize how essential it is to focus on email in the course of shoring up such cyber defenses. Your primary email address will likely serve as your username and means of resetting your password on other websites, so if it’s vulnerable, all of your other accounts will be too. As a result, make sure to use an especially secure password and establish two-step verification for this account.
Sign Up For Credit Monitoring
Credit monitoring is the best way to keep tabs on your credit report, providing peace of mind in the form of alerts about important changes to your file, including potential signs of identity theft. WalletHub offers free monitoring of your TransUnion credit report.
Leverage Account Alerts & Update Contact Info
Setting up online management for all of your financial accounts (e.g., credit cards, loans, IRS, Social Security), and keeping your phone number, email address and street address up to date will make them harder for identity thieves to hijack. Establishing alerts for changes to your contact info and other suspicious account activity will serve as a safeguard.
Exercise Commonsense Online
Don’t open emails you don’t recognize. Don’t download files from untrustworthy sources. Don’t send account numbers and passwords via email or messenger applications. And don’t enter financial or personal information into websites that lack the “https” prefix in the address.
For the full report and to see where your state ranks, please visit here.