Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft: Which States Are Most ‘At Risk’?

Posted by Anna Kragie on Feb 15, 2018 4:41:22 PM

While the Equifax breach has dominated headlines about fears over credit card fraud and identity theft, there are many less widely-reported incidents that occur on a much more regular basis.

The real impact of financial fraud is its long-lasting effect once a consumer’s personal credentials are compromised. From tracking down where and when the fraud occurred, how much damage was done, and what other records may have been breached, credit card fraud presents plenty of expensive headaches for both cardholders and issuers.

But where do the most credit card and identity theft risks exist? A new report from Reward Expert analyzed data from the the  the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Report and complaints filed with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau to determine which states are considered the most ‘at-risk’ for these types of fraud. Here’s what the report concluded.

  • ID theft is on the decline in the U.S. — but credit card fraud continues to rise.
  • The national average cost of credit card fraud and identity theft is between $2,500-$3,000.
  • Topping the list for financial crimes is Nevada, while Iowa residents are least likely to experience ID theft.
  • Per capita income played no role in the likelihood of fraud and ID theft, but there was a link between credit scores and criminal activities (states with the most fraud saw lower credit scores). 
  • ID theft losses were an average of $2,678, with credit card fraud having an average loss of $2,935.

Top 10 ‘At-Risk’ States for Credit Card and Identity Theft

    1. Nevada: “ Nevada is one of only six states in which reports of identity theft increased from 2015 to 2016 according to the FTC Consumer Sentinel Report.”
    2. California: “The average credit card fraud incident in California incurs a $3,667 bill, and identity theft cases average $7,543.”
    3. New Mexico: “According to the FTC, credit card fraud complaints have increased by a whopping 12.73% in the course of a year.”
    4. Florida: “Florida has the dubious distinction of having the highest per capita rate of credit card fraud incidents as of 2016 (1,305 per 100,000 residents).”
    5. Texas: “Texans have been experiencing significant trouble with fraud and identity theft...fourth for complaints filed with the CFPB, fifth for reports of fraud according to the Consumer Sentinel report, and third for internet-mediated credit card fraud.”
    6. Michigan:  “According to the most recent FTC data, Michigan has the highest rate of identity theft in the nation, affecting 175 out of every 100,000 residents, at an average cost of $2,762 per incident.”
    7. Virginia: “Credit card fraud and identity theft correlate with increasing population and/or the presence or proximity of a major metropolitan area, in this case, Washington, DC.”
    8. Arizona: “This is likely due to its fast growing, diverse population, as well as an relatively high number of older residents and others particularly vulnerable to fraud and theft.
    9. Illinois: “Illinois ranks third in the nation for identity theft, which affects 138 in 100,000 residents.  This is mitigated, however, by a significantly lower rate of credit card fraud than identity theft, at 576 per 100,000 residents.”
    10. Washington: “Washington has one of the highest rates of credit card fraud perpetrated using the internet (8 per 100,000 residents, with an overall incidence of 555 per 100,000).”

Top 10 States Secure from Credit Card Theft and Identity Theft

  1. Iowa: “Credit card fraud reports are third lowest in Iowa both online and off, while identity theft reports to the FBI’s IC3 and the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network are also among the lowest in the land.” 
  2. South Dakota: “South Dakotans simply are not frequently targets of either credit card fraud or identity theft.”
  3. Wyoming: “Incidents, when they happen, are apparently resolved without great financial loss, as average losses reported by the IC3 ($1,716 per incident of credit card fraud, and $386 per incident of identity theft).”
  4. North Dakota: “Dakota has some of the lowest rates of internet-mediated fraud and theft, and has the lowest per capita rate of financial fraud, with only 284 out of every 100,000 residents affected.”
  5. Maine: “Credit card fraud affects 423 per 100,000 residents (versus 547 in Massachusetts, and 463 in New Hampshire).”
  6. Arkansas: “Arkansas makes the list primarily on its very low rates of internet mediated financial fraud (with scores ranging from the 2nd to 10th percentile on all measures, and affecting fewer than 3 people per 100,000 residents).”
  7. Nebraska: “Nebraska has the sixth lowest incidence rate of credit card fraud, and ninth lowest according to IC3 data.”
  8. Wisconsin: “The rate of credit card fraud is slightly up over the same time period, but remains at a relatively low rate of 465 people per 100,000.”
  9. Louisiana: “ Internet and data-breach related incidents are rare, and when they do occur, less financial harm is done.”
  10. Hawaii: “Hawaii is distinguished by having the lowest rate of identity theft in the nation, as reported by the FTC Consumer Sentinel Report, with only 55 out of every 100,000 residents affected.”

For a full state ranking, click here.