America has one of the highest rates of identity theft in the world, and a new study conducted by popular news website U.S. News and World Report has ranked the top 10 states with the highest, as well as lowest, risk for identity theft crimes.
Someone’s identity is stolen every 22 seconds, according to the National Council of Identity Theft Protection (NCITP). Calling identity theft an “unstoppable issue,” the organization also reports that more than one third of American consumers have been victims of some type of identity theft.
Five Southern states clinched the Top 10 states for ID theft, with Georgia taking the No. 1 state where consumers are at most risk for ID theft crimes. The Peach State is followed by Rhode Island, Louisiana, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Kansas, South Carolina, Nevada and Massachusetts.
Iowa is the No. 1 state where consumers have the least risk for ID theft crimes, followed by Vermont, South Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, Wyoming and Minnesota.
U.S. News said its methodology to determine the rankings were weighted based on the incidence of identity theft reports from 2019 to 2021 per 100,000 people, the ratio of identity theft as a proportion of all fraud and the legal framework in each state.
Georgia had high levels of identity theft in each of the three years studied and a high ratio of identity theft to overall fraud. The state was in the top 10 for identity theft during the three-year period, and it also had the highest ratio of identity theft to overall fraud in 2019 and 2020, according to the research.
The most common identity theft crimes are related to financial data and include account takeover or misuse of a financial account as well as criminals opening a new financial account with the victim’s information. Information theft related to Social Security numbers is also a growing problem.
The current digitally dependent landscape has spurred identity theft and new research shows that it’s much more than just one isolated act. “67% of all identity theft fraud victims experience a total digital takeover,” said John Buzzard, lead analyst of fraud and security for Javelin Strategy and Research. “That means if you have 10 or 12 logins to things like Facebook, Pinterest, your bank, your credit card, etc., criminals become basically acquainted with all of your personally identifiable information. They have a lot to work with there.”
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