Risk Factor: Identity Theft Dangers Vary Among States
Your chances of becoming a victim of fraud may depend on where you live, according to a new study from WalletHub. The analysis, which notes that 1.6 billion personal records have been compromised since 2005, counted the instances of identity theft and fraud in each state and the District of Columbia. It also analyzed the official policies that had been enacted to protect consumers.
The “losers” of the survey—the places where consumers are mostly likely to be targeted—were the District of Columbia, California, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana, Texas, New York and Florida rounded out the Top 10.
According to the study, the fewest identify thefts per capita were in Kentucky, Maine, South Dakota, Iowa and Vermont. The fewest frauds per capita were in Nebraska, Vermont, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
The authors point out that email security is one of the major ways you can protect yourself against identify theft and fraud. Frederick Scholl, director of cybersecurity program at Quinnipiac University, advised consumers:
- Do not click on questionable links
- Don’t browse on unfamiliar web sites
- Make sure you routinely update Windows and other software, including your cell phone.
Hossein Sarrafzadeh, Chair of the cybersecurity department at St. Bonaventure University, stressed that consumers must always use secure internet connections to conduct online transactions. He also advises:
- Use one-time credit cards or those with a low limit for online shopping.
- Make sure your card isn’t swiped twice, especially when using it overseas.
- Wiggle gas station card readers to make sure someone hasn’t inserted an illegal external reader, which is often used to steal card numbers.