Top 10 states most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud in 2016

Just how vulnerable consumers are to identity theft and fraud depends on the person’s state of residence. (Photo: iStock)
Just how vulnerable consumers are to identity theft and fraud depends on the person’s state of residence. (Photo: iStock)

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s most recent Data Breach Report, 901 breaches with access to more than 34 million records have taken place in 2016 through Dec. 13, and more are likely to be reported by the end of the year.

Until 2015, identity theft was the top complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission for 15 consecutive years. And while more aggressive measures have been taken to improve the security of personal information, criminal strategies constantly evolve and grow in sophistication, keeping consumers vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Just how vulnerable, however, depends on the person’s state of residence.

Related: 3 emerging risks your clients aren’t prepared for in 2017

In order to determine where Americans are most likely to be exposed to and affected by identity theft and fraud, analysts at Washington, D.C.-based WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across six key indicators of susceptibility to such crimes, ranging from “identity-theft complaints per capita” to “average loss amount due to fraud.”

WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and Washington, D.C. across three key dimensions: identity theft, fraud and policy. WalletHub evaluated these dimensions using six key metrics:

  • Identity theft complaints per capita (~23.75 points)

  • Average loss amount due to online identity theft (~23.75 points)

  • Fraud and other complaints per capita (~23.75 points)

  • Average loss amount due to fraud (~23.75 points)

  • State security-freeze law for minors’ credit reports (~2.50 points)

  • Identity theft passport program (~2.50 points)

Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing “highest vulnerability.” WalletHub then calculated overall scores for each state and Washington, D.C. based on its weighted average across all metrics and used the resulting scores to rank them.

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Keep reading to see the top 10 states most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud in 2016. Read the full report on WalletHub.

(Photo: iStock)

10. Connecticut

Total score: 65.12

Connecticut is tied with four other states for having the most identity theft complaints per capita. Conversely, Hawaii was the state with the least.

Related: The changing face of fraud

(Photo: iStock)

9. Missouri

Total score: 65.49

Missouri ranks ninth overall, but is number one in the country under the “policy” dimension measured by WalletHub. Missouri is also one of the four states tied with Connecticut for having the most identity theft complaints per capita.

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(Photo: iStock)

6. Illinois

Total score: 69.11

Illinois is the fourth state with the highest average loss amount due to online identity theft. Montana is the state with the lowest.

(Photo: iStock)

5. Nevada

Total score: 69.29

Though ranking fifth overall, Nevada ranks second in the country for fraud.

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(Photo: iStock)

4. Massachusetts

Total score: 71.84

Massachusetts is tied with Missouri for being the number one state in the “policy” dimension. The state is also tied for being the number one state with the highest average loss amount due to online identity theft.

(Photo: iStock)

1. District of Columbia

Total score: 98.61

Washington, D.C. ranked first in all three key dimensions: identity theft, fraud and policy. It also tied first with Connecticut, Missouri and Florida for most identity theft complaints per capita; tied for first with Massachusetts for highest average loss due to online identity theft; tied for first with Florida, Georgia and Michigan for most fraud complaints per capita; and was fifth for highest average loss amount due to fraud.

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