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Safest States in the US by Identity Theft 2017

It is common knowledge that identity theft is an ever-growing crime, particularly in the US. According to 2017 Identity Fraud Study conducted by Javelin, 15.4 million U.S. consumers fell victim to identity theft in 2016, while the total amount stolen from them was $16 billion. It is undeniable that cyber criminals have acquired new skills and have been using dangerous methods which are all but easy for people to recognize.

Even though this trend has been on the rise all over the US, it seems that not all states are equally vulnerable to identity theft. For some reason, certain states face lower risk of falling victim to this relatively new, but omnipresent danger for consumers throughout the US.

That is why Elite Personal Finance decided to pay special attention to 10 safest states when it comes to identity theft and analyze their data in more detail.

 

Methodology & How We Ranked

The data was collected from 2016 Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book.

To determine which states are the safest, we analyzed the data and calculated the number of identity theft complaints per 1000 residents. Thus, the states with the ‘lowest score’ are actually the safest. For instance, Hawaii, as the safest state, has a score of 0.552, which means that 0.552 in 1000 Hawaiian residents have reported identity theft. Not a bad result, right?

On the other hand, Michigan, as the least safe state, has a score of 1.756 (1.756 identity theft complaints per 1000 residents).

*Please note that all identity theft cases were reported by victims.

 

 

Without further ado, here are:

10 safest states in the US

1st place – Hawaii
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.552
Total identity theft reports: 789 (7th lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 2.772 (11th lowest)
Avg. loss per scam: $996 (23rd highest)

This beautiful group of islands and, according to many people, the most exotic US state, ranked as the safest. With a population of 1,428,557, this paradise for the retired can boast its safety, and not only when it comes to identity theft. It seems that its being the youngest state has no negative effect on how ‘wise’ it is.

 

2nd place – South Dakota
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.581
Total identity theft reports:: 503 (4th lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 2.148 (2nd lowest)
Avg. loss per scam: $1,251 (8th highest)

This Midwestern state is home for 865,454 Americans. This mainly agricultural state did not only score high on identity theft test, but also when it comes to fraud reports, where it ranked 2nd best. It looks like the giants of Mount Rushmore are carefully watching over South Dakota.

 

3rd place – West Virginia
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.597

Total identity theft reports: 1,093 (8th lowest)
Fraud reports s per 1000: 4.076 (2nd highest)
Avg. loss per scam: $535 (the lowest)

This time, the two Dakotas were separated by West Virginia. But it happened for a great reason. Even though it is not largely populated (1,831,102), all of its residents can now heave a sigh of relief, at least when it comes to identity theft. Also, it the average loss per scam was the lowest in this state.

 

4th place – North Dakota
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.613
Total identity theft reports: 465 (3rd lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 1.867 (the lowest)
Avg. loss per scam: $1,032 (17th highest)

The colder of two Dakotas closely follows West Virginia when it comes to identity theft reports, but it can also be proud of its number of fraud reports, where they ranked the best, with only 1.867 reports per 1000 residents. It looks like Dakotas took this issue seriously.

 

5th place – Vermont
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.620
Total identity theft reports: 387 (the lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 2.682 (9th lowest)
Avg. loss per scam: $674 (2nd lowest)

This state had the smallest number of total identity theft reports, which is all but surprising if we take into account the number of its residents (624,594 , which is the 2nd lowest population, only to Wyoming). However, they still made it to the 10 safest states.

 

6th place – Kentucky
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.653
Total identity theft reports: 2,898 (21st lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 3.005 (23rd lowest)
Avg. loss per scam: $876 (tied-11th lowest)

The Bluegrass State, as some like to call it, reached the top 10 last year. With 4,436,974 people living there, it definitely did a great job of maintaining identity theft safety. Combined with the neighboring state, West Virginia, that is over 6 million people who can be at ease when it comes to identity theft.

 

7th place – Iowa
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.681
Total identity theft reports: 2,135 (16th lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 2.189 (3rd lowest)
Avg. loss per scam: $1,141 (10th highest)

This state is well-known for its corn fields and agriculture in general. However, now they can be proud of one more thing. With a population of 3,134,693, Iowa reached 7th place on the list of the safest identity theft states. They also ranked 3rd best in the category of fraud reports, closely following North and South Dakota.

 

8th place – Montana
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.682
Total identity theft reports: 711 (5th lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 3.201 (22nd highest)
Avg. loss per scam: $1,016 (19th highest)

The Land of the Shining Mountains is 4th in size of all US states. With a population of 1,042,520, it is very close to the bottom of the states. However, they seem to successfully compensate for it by ranking on the 8th place on our list.

 

9th place – Louisiana
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.697
Total identity theft reports: 3,264 (22nd lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 3.275 (19th highest)
Avg. loss per scam: $975 (25th highest)

The state of jazz and multiculturalism reached the 9th place on our list. In spite of the fact that it was among the states with worse fraud reports and average-loss-per-scam score, the 4,681,666 residents of Louisiana still found their way to the top 10.

 

10th place – Wyoming
Identity theft reports per 1000: 0.746
Total identity theft reports: 437 (2nd lowest)
Fraud reports per 1000: 2.816 (13th lowest)
Avg. loss per scam: $1,154 (9th highest)

Not only did Wyoming reached number 10 on our list, but it also achieved the 2nd best result in the category of total identity theft reports. However, this is not surprising if we take into account the fact that this state is the least populated of all 50 states. Nonetheless, they deserve to be in the company of the best.

In case your state did not rank in top 10, take a look at the complete table of 50 states (Washington D.C. was not included in this list).

RANKSTATETOTAL NUMBER OF IDENTITY THEFT REPORTSIDENTITY THEFT SCORE
1Hawaii
7890.552
2South Dakota5030.581
3West Virginia1,0930.597
4North Dakota4650.613
5Vermont3870.62
6Kentucky2,8980.653
7Iowa2,1350.681
8Montana7110.682
9Louisiana3,2640.697
10Wyoming4370.746
11Indiana5,0910.768
12Arkansas2,3080.772
13Mississippi2,3780.796
14Idaho1,3480.801
15Alabama4,0070.824
16Nebraska1,5840.831
17Utah2,5400.832
18Oklahoma3,3370.851
19Tennessee5,7180.86
20Kansas2,5320.871
21Wisconsin5,0540.875
22Maine1,1700.879

23South Carolina4,4380.895
24Ohio11,0090.948
25North Carolina9,7460.961
26Alaska7130.961
27New Mexico2,0160.969
28New Hampshire1,3521.013
29New York20,2051.023
30Virginia8,7721.043
31Oregon4,3121.053
32Massachusetts7,2871.07
33Minnesota5,9191.072
34Pennsylvania14,0301.097
35New Jersey9,9771.115
36Colorado6,2031.12
37Washington8,3101.14
38Rhode Island1,2161.151
39Texas33,2141.192
40Georgia12,7871.24
41Arizona8,7481.262
42Nevada3,9931.358
43Missouri8,2921.361
44Maryland8,2511.371
45Connecticut4,9331.379
46Illinois17,6601.38
47California54,7441.395
48Delaware1,4841.559
49Florida34,3841.668
50Michigan17,4301.756

 

Key Findings

  • There were 371,174 total reported identity theft cases in 2017.
  • On average, there were 0.99868 reported cases per 1000 people. (If we take into account that these were only reported cases, we can easily assume that there was at least 1 case per 1000 people)
  • Hawaii is the safest state with 0.552 identity theft complaints per 1000 people and 789 complaints overall. Michigan, as the least safe state, has a score of 1.756, which is more than three times worse than Hawaii.
  • Out of the top 10 states, four have fewer than 1 million residents, whereas six of them have fewer than 5 million.
  • Out of the 10 states with the worst scores, only one has fewer than 1 million residents, while in four of them there are close to (Michigan) or more than 10 million people (Illinois, Florida and California). This and the previous point lead us to a conclusion that less populated states are much safer.

 

Based on these findings, Elite Personal Finance analyzed the data more closely and made  3 additional tables:

  • States with fewer than 1 million residents
RANK (TOTAL RANK)STATETOTAL NUMBER OF IDENTITY THEFT REPORTSIDENTITY THEFT SCORE
1 (2)South Dakota
503
0.581
2 (4)North Dakota
465
0.613
3 (5)Vermont
387
0.653
4 (10)Wyoming
437
0.746
5 (26)Alaska
713
0.961
6 (48)Delaware
1,484
1.559

 

 

  • States with 1-10 million residents
RANK (TOTAL RANK)STATETOTAL NUMBER OF IDENTITY THEFT REPORTSIDENTITY THEFT SCORE
1 (1)Hawaii
789

0.552

2 (3)West Virginia
1,093
0.597
3 (6)Kentucky
2,898
0.653
4 (7)Iowa
2,135
0.681
5 (8)Montana
711
0.682
6 (9)Louisiana
3,264
0.697
7 (11)Indiana
5,091
0.768
8 (12)Arkansas
2,308
0.772
9 (13)Mississippi
2,378
0.796
10 (14)Idaho
1,348
0.801
11 (15)Alabama
4,007
0.824
12 (16)Nebraska
1,584
0.831
13 (17)Utah
2,540
0.832
14 (18)Oklahoma
3,337
0.851
15 (19)Tennessee
5,718
0.86
16 (20)Kansas
2,532
0.871
17 (21)Wisconsin
5,054
0.875
18 (22)Maine
1,170
0.879
19 (23)South Carolina
4,438
0.895
20 (27)New Mexico2,016
0.969
21 (28)New Hampshire
1,352
1.013
22 (30)Virginia
8,772
1.043
23 (31)Oregon
4,312
1.053
24 (32)Massachusetts
7,287
1.07
25 (33)Minnesota
5,919
1.072
26 (35)New Jersey
9,977
1.115
27 (36)Colorado
6,203
1.12
28 (37)Washington
8,310
1.14
29 (38)Rhode Island1,216
1.151
30 (41)Arizona
8,7481.262
31 (42)Nevada
3,993
1.358
32 (43)Missouri
8,292
1.361
33 (44)Maryland
8,251
1.371
34 (45)Connecticut
4,933
1.379
35 (50)Michigan
17,430
1.756

 

 

  • States with more than 10 million residents
RANK (TOTAL RANK)STATETOTAL NUMBER OF IDENTITY THEFT REPORTSIDENTITY THEFT SCORE
1 (24)Ohio11,0090.948
2 (25)North Carolina

9,746
0.961
3 (29)New York
20,205
1.023
4 (34)Pennsylvania
14,030
1.097
5 (39)Texas
33,214
1.192
6 (40)Georgia
12,787
1.24
7 (46)Illinois17,660
1.38
8 (47)California54,744
1.395
9 (49)Florida34,384
1.668

 

 

How Safe Is Your State?

If you have any concern about lack of identity theft safety in your state, you can share it in the comments below. Likewise, if you are satisfied with safety level in your state, please feel free to comment on that.

Sources:

Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January – December 2016

“Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016” (XLSX). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 8 June 2017.

 

Here are some useful articles by EPF to read in order to make your state safer when it comes to identity theft!

100 Tips to Prevent Identity Theft – the most comprehensive list on the planet!

Read More About Identity Theft Here – we work everyday to provide you with the highest quality information on identity theft.

Identity Theft SafeGuard – The most comprehensive guide on how to prevent identity theft, written by Elite Personal Finance expert team!

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