Currently, identity theft is one of the most common crimes in the U.S. Up to nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
In fact, out of the 3.2 million fraud cases reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2019, identity thefts make up for 20.33% of cases and was the most frequent type of fraud.
Quick snapshots of identity theft related crimes in the U.S.
- Every two seconds, there’s a new victim of identity theft in the U.S.
- Identity thefts and data breaches cases have almost doubled over the past 5 years
- The most common type of identity theft is credit card fraud
- Millennials (age 30 -39) are the most common victims of identity thefts
- About 14.4 million consumers were victims of identity fraud in 2019 (that’s about 1 in 15 Americans) and more than double the global average.
- In 2017, more than a million children in the U.S. were victims of identity thefts which costs families $540 million in out-of-pocket expenses.
- In 2019, consumers lost over $1.9 billion to identity theft and fraud
- In 2019, there were 146 million unmasked records and data breaches rose by 17%
So, in what state are you most likely susceptible to identity thefts in the United States?
Let’s find out ..
Reported cases of identity thefts by state
10 States with The Highest Number of Identity Thefts in 2019
These are the 10 states with the highest number of reported cases of identity theft in the US in 2019, according to Statista:
|S.N||State||Population||Reported cases of I.D. Theft|
|5||New York||19.45 million||36, 337|
|6||Illinois||12.67 million||23, 139|
|8||North Carolina||10.49 million||18, 584|
|9||New Jersey||8.882 million||18, 220|
|10||Ohio||11.69 million||13, 788|
10 States with The Lowest Number of Identity Thefts in 2019
These are the 10 states with the lowest number of reported cases of identity theft in the U.S. according to Statista:
|S.N||State||Population||Reported Cases of I.D. Theft|
|8||West Virginia||1.792 million||1,061|
|9||Rhode Island||1.059 million||1,146|
|10||New Hampshire||1.36 million||1,302|
Identity theft types and number of reports in 2019
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the following are the highest identity theft types and the number of reports in 2019:
- Credit Card Fraud – 10,251
- Other Identity Theft – 7,770
- Bank Fraud – 4,958
- Phone or Utilities Fraud 4,590
- Loan or Lease Fraud – 3,483
- Employment or Tax-Related Fraud – 2,304
- Government Documents or Benefits Fraud – 2,279
COVID-19 and the Identity theft pandemic
Since the novel coronavirus became a pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, the number of identity theft cases has escalated notoriously.
Here’s a quick snapshot of fraud cases reported as at August 2020, while pandemic rages on, according to Fool.com:
- Americans within the ages of 30-39 reported the highest numbers of fraud, but people within the ages of 50-59 lost the highest amount of money.
- At the end of August 2020, Americans have reported more than 184,000 cases of fraud including losses of more than $124 million.
- California reported the highest number of COVID-19 fraud losses of over $17 million.
- Alaska residents reported the least amount of COVID-19 fraud loses at $49,000
- Vermont recorded a median fraud loss of $693, ranked as the highest among all states.
- DC, Maine, and Massachusetts, reported an above average rate of frauds as a result of their populations.
- Though most victims of COVID-19 frauds usually pay via credit cards, most money loss were via money transfers.
- Fraudsters usually contact people via phone but have siphoned more money via digital contact methods.
10 States with the highest number of reported COVID-19 fraud loses in 2020 according to the Federal Trade Commission:
- California – $17,180,000
- New York – $7,770,000
- Texas – $6,060,000
- Florida – $5,960,000
- Georgia – $3,960,000
- Illinois – $3,930,000
- New Jersey – $3,870,000
- North Carolina – $3,820,000
- Washington – $3,600,000
- Michigan – $2,940,000
How do identity thieves gain access to your personal data?
Fraudsters can pose as you to get a fraudulent driver’s license and even credit cards. In many cases, they use a mailing address that is different from yours so they can do whatever they want without your knowledge.
Impostors can use your information to apply for loans, apply for a job using your name, or even withdraw money from your personal accounts. By doing all these, fraudsters can easily steal a large amount of money in your name and without your knowledge.
Whose identity is most likely to get stolen?
- Children and seniors
- Members of the military
- Social media users
- Repeat victims
- The deceased
What personal information should you protect?
- Your Name
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Phone Number
Who has access to your personal information?
- Family Members
- Complete Strangers
- Job websites you applied to
How identity thieves gain access to your personal information
- Dumpster diving
- Changing your address
- Stealing wallets, personnel records, purses, banks and credit card statements etc.
What should you do when your identity is stolen?
Once you observed that your identity has been stolen, file a police report immediately. Make sure you get a copy of the report so you can give a copy to your credit card company and your bank.
Also, make sure you close all the affected accounts immediately. You should also check the Federal Trade Commission’s website for an I.D. theft affidavit you can use when contesting new, unauthorized accounts.
The next step is to reach out to the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to ask for a fraud alert on your file. If anyone anywhere makes any attempt to open a new account or even make any changes to an existing account, you will be notified for verification.
In addition, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC keeps a database of identity theft complaints and cases to help in law enforcement investigations.
How identity thieves operate
By understanding how identity thieves do their jobs, you can learn key crime prevention tips to protect your identity better. If you’re looking to move to a new city, state or a new town, one of the key things you should be concerned about is the rate of identity thefts and fraud.
While several states have implemented measures to protect residents from identity thefts, some states are actually performing better than others. So, you should be aware of how to protect yourself from identity theft when you’re moving.
Recently, Construction Coverage analyzed data for the 2019 calendar year from the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Sentinel Network Data Book. The FTC is responsible for compiling the total number of fraud complaints in every state. All complaints were grouped as either identity thefts or a second category, including all other kinds of frauds.The FTC also provides the average amount stolen from victims of scams. While the National Conference of State Legislatures provide details of fines and penalties for identity thefts in each state.