Southern states had the most identity theft victims in 2022

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A ConsumerAffairs analysis of FTC data shows millennials were the most common victims

Cases of identity theft have soared in recent years, largely because the internet has provided a gateway to Americans’ personally identifiable information (PII). Whenever a financial system’s network is hacked, millions of consumers are vulnerable.

Recorded instances of identity theft have soared by 584% over the last 20 years, according to a ConsumerAffairs analysis of data collected by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In the last decade, Louisiana, Delaware and Pennsylvania saw the largest increase in identity theft reports per 100,000 people.

When it comes to where identity theft cases per capita occurred in 2022, they were primarily in southern states, with only three states outside of that region in the top 10. The top 10 states for identity theft last year, according to the FTC, were:

  1. Georgia

  2. Louisiana

  3. Florida

  4. Delaware

  5. Nevada

  6. Texas

  7. Pennsylvania

  8. Alabama

  9. South Carolina

  10. Mississippi

In Georgia last year there were 574 cases per 100,000 people. Louisiana, the second state on the list, had 534 per 100,000 residents, and Florida, third, had 524 per 100,000 people.

Most vulnerable metro areas

A closer look at the numbers shows Tuscaloosa, Ala., was the metro with the most identity theft victims per capita with1,123 per 100,000 residents. The Baton Rogue, La., metro was second with 974 cases per 100,000 people.

Even large metro areas had an above-average share of victims, putting them on the top 10 list. Those metros include Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Orlando, and Houston.

ConsumerAffairs also discovered that millennials appeared to be the most vulnerable population last year. Of the 1,108,609 total identity theft reports in 2022, 30- to 39-year-olds made up 25.9% of victims in the U.S. 

It’s worth noting that identity theft can take many different forms. Some credit card identity theft, when a criminal uses a stolen credit card to make a purchase, can be quickly rectified if the lender is quickly alerted that the charge is fraudulent.

But other credit card-related identity theft is more serious if the criminal uses PII to open a new credit card account in your name. In 2022, credit cards played some type of role in the most common cases of identity theft.

Challenges to prevention

Preventing identity theft can present challenges. While consumers can take precautions to protect their PII by avoiding scams, sometimes it is out of their control, such as when their data is stolen in a network hack.

Because of that, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has found that consumers are increasingly mistrustful of corporate enterprises and government agencies. Its recent report found 61% of consumers are concerned about giving government agencies their Social Security number. 

“Identity crime victims are very concerned about their information being compromised in a data breach or misused by a government employee,” said Eva Velasquez, ITRC’s CEO. “All of these findings give us additional direction for how we can build confidence in the systems that prove people are who they claim to be and reduce the rate of identity fraud.”

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