Identity theft is the fastest-growing white-collar crime in America, with more than 10 million victims in the U.S. every year. But residents of certain states – such as Florida, Georgia and California – are far more likely to grapple with this problem than are people who live in other parts of the country.
According to new data from IdentityProtection.com, a site recently launched by the Equifax credit bureau, the Sunshine State tops the list when it comes to places where consumers complain about identity theft.
IdentityProtection.com, using figures reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2012, said the following is a Top 10 list of states where identity theft occurs:
- New York
Florida received its No. 1 ranking for identity theft after logging 361.3 complaints per 100,000 residents – nearly double the rate of ID theft complaints registered in Georgia.
What’s more, nine out of the top 10 metro areas for identity theft are in Florida, according to the report. The Miami area beats out all other U.S. cities for identity theft, with 645.4 complaints per 100,000 people – a dubious distinction that Miami officials (and residents) would no doubt prefer not to have.
Fraud experts at Equifax suggested that Florida may be such a hotbed of identity theft activity due to several factors: it has a relative high transient population, a large number of tourists flock to the area; and Florida is also a magnet for older Americans, who are often targets of financial scammers, including identity thieves.
Besides Florida, other states with high incidences of identity theft have also had high rates of unemployment and foreclosures, perhaps making residents there more apt to use an identity theft scam as a way to get cash quickly, Equifax experts suggested.
Regular readers of AskTheMoneyCoach.com may recall that identity theft is the single-biggest consumer complaint in America, according to data received by the Federal Trade Commission and released in the FTC’s 2012 annual report of complaints.
In 2012, the FTC received a record of more than two million complaints from U.S. consumers and 369,132 of those gripes – or 18% of them – were about identity theft.
If you’ve been the victim of ID theft involving taxes or wage-related fraud, or if someone stole your Social Security number, read my advice on what to do when an identity thief strikes.