The Worst States for Identity Theft

Identity theft is a big problem. How big? According to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research, consumers lost $16.8 billion to identity fraud in 2017. The ID theft business is positively booming, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

But what about you? How worried should you personally feel about identity theft? We wanted to find out, so we analyzed data on identity theft in each state to determine risk levels for consumers in each state. Keep reading to see the most dangerous states for identity theft victims and the states where victims stand to lose the most money to identity theft.

Top 10 costliest states for ID theft

What we found

Our study helped us determine the worst states for identity theft, but it also provided some insight into ID fraud trends. Here are some of the highlights from our data analysis:

  • Even if you’re unlikely to become a victim of identity theft, you could lose a lot if you do. Ohio didn’t make our list of the top 10 worst states—it ranked 45th in terms of victims per 100,000 people—but it had the highest loss per victim ($13,862.60) and the second-highest loss per capita ($0.43).
  • On the other hand, Washington, DC, appeared in the top list for 10 victims per 100,000 people, but losses were not as severe. DC fell near the bottom of the list for both losses per victim and losses per capita.
  • You have the greatest chance of becoming a victim if you live in Hawaii, which topped our rankings of victims per 100,000 people. You have the lowest chance if you live in South Dakota, which also ranked at the bottom for loss per victim and loss per capita.
  • Many of the highest-population states reported the highest overall dollars lost. Nevada is an exception, with the highest losses per capita by a large margin.

Check out the full list below to get the details on your state’s identity theft risks.

State-by-state risk for identity theft

Methodology analyzed the losses from identity theft as reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigations Internet Crime Complaint Center in 2017. We looked at the average loss per victim, the average loss per capita using population data from the US Census Bureau, and the number of victims per 100,000 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. From there, we assigned a rank 1–51 for each factor—1 being the “worst” outcome and 51 the “best” outcome—and averaged those ranks to determine the best and worst states for ID theft victims.

For this study, we used IC3’s definition of identity theft: “Identity theft involves a perpetrator stealing another person’s personal identifying information, such as name or Social Security number, without permission to commit fraud.”

Take action today

Whatever your state’s rank, you should guard yourself against identity theft. Check your credit report regularly and store or destroy personal documents appropriately. Consider an identity theft protection service to help you monitor your identity. Check out our other articles for more ways to prevent identity theft—and stay safe out there!