Identity theft and fraud cases are on the rise. To shed light on where consumers face the greatest risks, personal finance site WalletHub identified the states where people are the most susceptible to scams and bad actors.
2024’s States Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft & Fraud compares the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 14 key metrics, including each state’s vulnerability to identity theft and fraud, as well as state policies that protect against these crimes.
WalletHub's report was spurred by the MOVEit data breach that affected a wide range of organizations in the public and private sectors, including financial services companies, government agencies, pension funds and more. In fact, more than 83 million individuals (so far) have been affected, at an estimated cost of more than $13.7 billion, according to WalletHub.
The ten most and least vulnerable states span from one coast to the next, and include:
|Least Vulnerable States
|1. District of Columbia
|2. Rhode Island
|4. New Mexico
|6. South Carolina
“In the District of Columbia, there were a staggering 1,747 fraud complaints per 100,000 residents last year, more than anywhere else in the nation. It’s worrying that the home of the federal government also happens to be the area most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud,” said Cassandra Happe, WalletHub Analyst. “One key reason why the District of Columbia is so vulnerable is that it lacks key laws to protect consumers when it comes to things like data disposal, phishing, spyware and more.”
While it may be near impossible to predict if and when you may fall victim to a scam or have your identity stolen, there are several things you can do to protect yourself.
- Consider buying identity theft protection. The price you pay now is nothing compared to what it will cost if your identity is stolen or you fall victim to a scam.
- Monitor financial information often. And report irregularities.
- Protect your devices. Using two-factor log-ins, changing your passwords, and not using public Wi-Fi.
- Shred old documents. Especially those with personal or financial information attached
- Use credit cards. All major credit card networks guarantee $0 liability for fraudulent purchases.
For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.
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