5 States Where Identity Theft Is a Major Problem

By Sreekar Jasthi

Everyone is vulnerable to identity theft, but residents of some states seem more susceptible than others.

To determine where Americans are most often victims of this crime and what kinds of fraud are occurring, personal finance website NerdWallet analyzed data from the Federal Trade Commission, which received 332,646 identify theft complaints in 2014 — up 15% from the previous year.

The most common kind of identity theft is fraud involving government benefits or documents, such as Social Security cards, passports and driver’s licenses. Other types of fraud involve credit cards, phone or utility accounts, banks and employment.

Where does your state rank? Below are the five states with the highest rates of identity theft.
Check out the full analysis of identity theft and credit card fraud at NerdWallet and learn more about how to protect your identity and credit.

States with the highest rate of ID theft complaints

1. Florida

ID theft complaints per 100,000 residents: 186.3

Florida leads the nation in identity theft complaints. The state also had the highest rate of complaints about fraud involving government documents or benefits, credit cards and banks. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area had 316.2 identity theft complaints per 100,000 residents, the highest rate among the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

2. Washington

ID theft complaints per 100,000 residents: 154.8

Washington’s identity theft complaint rate more than doubled from 2013 to 2014. Specifically, the number of government documents or benefits fraud complaints increased dramatically from 854 in 2013 to 6,050 in 2014. The Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area had 207 identity theft complaints per 100,000 residents, the second-highest rate among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas.

3. Washington, D.C.

ID theft complaints per 100,000 residents: 142.8

The nation’s capital actually saw a slight decrease in the rate of ID theft complaints — from 147.9 to 142.8 per 100,000 residents — from 2013 to 2014. Washington, D.C., trails Florida when it comes to the rate of complaints about fraud involving credit cards and banks.

4. Oregon

ID theft complaints per 100,000 residents: 124.6

Much like its neighbor to the north, Oregon saw a sharp increase in identity theft complaints from 60.3 to 124.6 per 100,000 residents from 2013-2014. The Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metro area, which includes Oregon and parts of Washington, had 159.2 complaints per 100,000 residents in 2014, the seventh-highest rate among the country’s 50 largest metro areas.

5. Missouri

ID theft complaints per 100,000 residents: 118.7

Fraud complaints in Missouri jumped from 67 to nearly 119 per 100,000 residents. The St. Louis metro area saw 204.4 complaints per 100,000 residents.

To see where other states rank when it comes to identity theft, check out NerdWallet’s interactive map of fraud across the U.S.

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nerdwallet/5-states-where-identity-t_b_8215336.html

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