States Where Identity Theft Runs Rampant

John Csiszar

Imagine coming home from a long day’s work, and as you’re going through the mail, you see a letter from a law firm. After opening it, you realize that you’re being sued for an outstanding debt by a credit card company you never use. At that moment, the phone rings — it’s a bill collector, seeking payment from you for a different outstanding debt that you never incurred. What is going on?

Sadly, this scenario — along with other identity theft scams — affected nearly 3 million people in 2018, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network, which is an online Federal Trade Commission database. To drill down into which states are the most prone to identity theft, GOBankingRates used information from the 2018 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book to find state-by-state trends about the frequency and type of identity theft scams.

Some of the data turned out to be eye-opening. For example, New York didn’t rank in the top 10 for identity theft in terms of consumer reports per 100,000 residents. In fact, the Peach State was actually the worst in the nation. Overall, the most common types of identity theft include credit card fraud, phone or utilities fraud, employment or tax-related fraud, government documents and benefits fraud and more. As evidenced in the study, however, certain types of fraud are more common in individual states.

Identity theft is a painful but important problem to deal with because it can have far-reaching and devastating effects. A fraudster with your identity can impersonate you, open accounts in your name and even drain your bank accounts. While you shouldn’t have an irrational fear of identity theft, you should take proactive steps to help prevent it:

  • Change your passwords often.
  • Don’t share your personal information.
  • Shred important documents when you dispose of them.
  • Install appropriate antivirus and security software on all of your devices.

And if you live in one of the worst states for identity theft, you may want to practice extra diligence and look into getting identity theft protection services.

Last updated: Dec. 3, 2019

1. Georgia

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 229
  • Number of reports: 23,871
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Other identity theft: 40%
    • Credit card fraud: 36%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 20%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 8%

2. Nevada

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 194
  • Number of reports: 5,816
  • Top identity theft types: 
    • Other identity theft: 41%
    • Credit card fraud: 29%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 12%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 11%

3. California

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 186
  • Number of reports: 73,668
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 41%
    • Other identity theft: 30%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 15%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 10%
    • Bank fraud: 10%

4. Florida

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 180
  • Number of reports: 37,797
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 42%
    • Other identity theft: 27%
    • Bank fraud: 14%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 13%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 12%

5. Texas

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 159
  • Number of reports: 45,030
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 33%
    • Other identity theft: 26%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 19%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 17%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 14%

6. Delaware

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 158
  • Number of reports: 1,517
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 35%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 30%
    • Other identity theft: 19%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 10%

7. Maryland

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 145
  • Number of reports: 8,747
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 37%
    • Other identity theft: 29%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 16%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 11%

8. Michigan

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 140
  • Number of reports: 13,952
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Other identity theft: 23%
    • Credit card fraud: 23%
    • Government documents or benefits fraud: 23%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 17%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 15%

9. Illinois

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 127
  • Number of reports: 16,296
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 37%
    • Other identity theft: 23%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 19%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 15%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 12%

10. Arizona

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 126
  • Number of reports: 8,853
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 30%
    • Other identity theft: 26%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 24%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 13%

11. South Carolina

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 126
  • Number of reports: 6,339
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Other identity theft: 36%
    • Credit card fraud: 30%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 18%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 17%
    • Bank fraud: 11%

12. New Jersey

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 125
  • Number of reports: 11,273
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 46%
    • Other identity theft: 21%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 15%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 12%
    • Bank fraud: 11%

13. New York

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 122
  • Number of reports: 24,248
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 42%
    • Other identity theft: 23%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 13%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 12%

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14. New Hampshire

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 117
  • Number of reports: 1,565
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 42%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 34%
    • Other identity theft: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 11%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 7%

15. North Carolina

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 112
  • Number of reports: 11,481
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Other identity theft: 32%
    • Credit card fraud: 31%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 15%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 14%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 13%

16. Louisiana

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 111
  • Number of reports: 5,202
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Other identity theft: 34%
    • Credit card fraud: 31%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 20%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 17%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 13%

17. Colorado

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 110
  • Number of reports: 6,151
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 34%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 21%
    • Other identity theft: 21%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 18%
    • Bank fraud: 15%

18. Connecticut

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 108
  • Number of reports: 3,864
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 40%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 21%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 18%
    • Other identity theft: 17%
    • Bank fraud: 13%

19. Alabama

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 108
  • Number of reports: 5,241
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Other identity theft: 29%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 18%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 17%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%

20. Pennsylvania

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 107
  • Number of reports: 13,725
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 37%
    • Other identity theft: 26%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 21%
    • Bank fraud: 12%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 12%

21. Tennessee

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 101
  • Number of reports: 6,808
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 33%
    • Other identity theft: 32%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 14%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 13%

22. Oregon

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 101
  • Number of reports: 4,179
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 33%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 21%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 18%
    • Other identity theft: 18%
    • Bank fraud: 16%

23. Washington

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 100
  • Number of reports: 7,380
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 37%
    • Other identity theft: 21%
    • Bank fraud: 20%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 17%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 12%

24. Mississippi

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 97
  • Number of reports: 2,894
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Other identity theft: 32%
    • Credit card fraud: 28%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 21%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 19%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 13%

25. Virginia

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 97
  • Number of reports: 8,196
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 36%
    • Other identity theft: 28%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 14%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 13%

26. New Mexico

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 96
  • Number of reports: 2,000
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 27%
    • Other identity theft: 24%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 21%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 18%
    • Bank fraud: 15%

27. Utah

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 94
  • Number of reports: 2,915
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Other identity theft: 25%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 21%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 15%
    • Bank fraud: 12%

28. Rhode Island

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 93
  • Number of reports: 990
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 38%
    • Other identity theft: 24%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 17%
    • Bank fraud: 14%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 11%

29. Massachusetts

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 93
  • Number of reports: 6,387
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 40%
    • Other identity theft: 23%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 15%
    • Bank fraud: 14%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 14%

30. Ohio

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 88
  • Number of reports: 10,268
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Other identity theft: 25%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 18%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 13%

Read More: 4 People Whose Identities Were Stolen — and How They Got Through It

31. Missouri

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 85
  • Number of reports: 5,222
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Other identity theft: 27%
    • Bank fraud: 16%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 15%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 15%

32. Idaho

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 80
  • Number of reports: 1,368
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 31%
    • Other identity theft: 25%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Loan or lease fraud: 14%
    • Bank fraud: 14%

33. Oklahoma

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 79
  • Number of reports: 3,109
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Other identity theft: 25%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 21%
    • Bank fraud: 15%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 13%

34. Montana

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 76
  • Number of reports: 799
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 33%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 28%
    • Other identity theft: 19%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 17%
    • Bank fraud: 10%

35. Indiana

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 74
  • Number of reports: 4,918
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 30%
    • Other identity theft: 26%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 20%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 13%

36. Kansas

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 74
  • Number of reports: 2,142
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 36%
    • Other identity theft: 21%
    • Bank fraud: 19%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 17%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 13%

37. Arkansas

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 73
  • Number of reports: 2,197
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 30%
    • Other identity theft: 24%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 19%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 17%
    • Bank fraud: 14%

38. Minnesota

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 73
  • Number of reports: 4,070
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 40%
    • Other identity theft: 21%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 15%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 13%

39. Hawaii

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 72
  • Number of reports: 1,021
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 42%
    • Other identity theft: 29%
    • Bank fraud: 17%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 10%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 9%

40. Alaska

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 69
  • Number of reports: 507
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 38%
    • Other identity theft: 24%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 19%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 15%
    • Bank fraud: 15%

41. Nebraska

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 67
  • Number of reports: 1,281
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 33%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 23%
    • Other identity theft: 22%
    • Bank fraud: 19%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 10%

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42. Wisconsin

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 64
  • Number of reports: 3,731
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Other identity theft: 24%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 20%
    • Bank fraud: 13%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 13%

43. North Dakota

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 63
  • Number of reports: 474
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 34%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 25%
    • Other identity theft: 19%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 11%

44. Wyoming

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 58
  • Number of reports: 338
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Other identity theft: 24%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 20%
    • Bank fraud: 13%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 13%

45. West Virginia

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 58
  • Number of reports: 1,051
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 33%
    • Other identity theft: 22%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 19%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 15%

46. Kentucky

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 57
  • Number of reports: 2,522
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 35%
    • Other identity theft: 23%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 17%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 15%

47. South Dakota

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 56
  • Number of reports: 486
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 32%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 24%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Other identity theft: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 15%

48. Maine

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 56
  • Number of reports: 744
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 33%
    • Other identity theft: 19%
    • Government documents or benefits fraud: 17%
    • Bank fraud: 15%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 12%

49. Iowa

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 53
  • Number of reports: 1,654
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 38%
    • Other identity theft: 20%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 16%
    • Bank fraud: 16%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 15%

50. Vermont

  • Reports per 100,000 residents: 51
  • Number of reports: 316
  • Top identity theft types:
    • Credit card fraud: 39%
    • Other identity theft: 19%
    • Bank fraud: 17%
    • Phone or utilities fraud: 16%
    • Employment or tax-related fraud: 13%

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All information was sourced from the Federal Trade Commission’s 2018 Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book and verified on Nov. 25, 2019.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: States Where Identity Theft Runs Rampant