Study Identifies States in America Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft and Fraud

Identity Theft

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Some Americans are more “likely to be exposed to and affected by identity theft and fraud” depending on the state where they live, according to a comparison of 50 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) across three key dimensions – identity theft, fraud, and policy – and ten key metrics.

In order to determine where American consumers are most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud, WalletHub – a personal finance website launched in 2013 – evaluated identity theft, fraud, and policy in each state and D.C. The top ten states most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud were:

  1. Nevada (Total Score 72.66)
  2. Florida (Total Score 69.11)
  3. New Jersey (Total Score 68.52)
  4. Delaware (Total Score 68.34)
  5. California (Total Score 64.12)
  6. District of Columbia (Total Score 63.89)
  7. New York (Total Score 62.17)
  8. West Virginia (Total Score 62.10)
  9. Michigan (Total Score 61.71)
  10. North Dakota (Total Score 61.64)

WalletHub determined each state and D.C.’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order their sample. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most vulnerable. The ten key metrics used in the study were:

  1. Identity-Theft Complaints per Capita
  2. Average Loss Amount Due to Online Identity Theft
  3. Average Loss Amount Due to Online Identity Theft
  4. Fraud & Other Complaints per Capita
  5. Median Loss Amount Due to Fraud
  6. Persons Arrested for Fraud per Capita
  7. E-Commerce Attack Rates
  8. Availability of Security-Freeze Law for Minors’ Credit Reports
  9. Availability of Identity-Theft Passport Program
  10. Compliance with REAL ID Act

Tips for avoiding identity theft and fraud from experts include emphasizing email security by using an especially secure password, signing up for credit monitoring to keep tabs on your credit report, leveraging account alerts, updating contact information, and using common sense online.

Information used to create this ranking was collected from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Experian Information Solutions, and National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).

The 2018 Identity Fraud Study released by research-based advisory firm Javelin Strategy & Research revealed the number of identity fraud victims increased by eight percent to 16.7 million U.S. consumers in 2017, a record high since the company began tracking identity fraud in 2003.

According to Javelin, “identity theft” is the unauthorized access to personal information which can occur through data breaches while “identity fraud” is the unauthorized use of someone’s personal information for illicit financial gain such as using a stole payment card account.

Learn More about Identity Theft and Fraud from ESR

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and undergoes annual SOC 2® audits to protect consumers from identity theft and fraud. Read more ESR News blogs about identity theft and fraud.

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