On-line fraud circumstances, together with identification theft, have hit all-time highs in recent times — which suggests you are probably extra in danger than ever of getting your private data focused by hackers or different unhealthy actors.
Shoppers filed greater than 5.7 million fraud experiences with the Federal Commerce Fee final yr, together with almost 1.4 million experiences of identification theft. Those self same shoppers reported shedding greater than $5.8 billion to fraud final yr, a rise of 70% from 2020.
On-line fraudsters can search you out anyplace, however identification theft and fraud are extra prevalent in some states than others. That is in accordance with a brand new report from private finance web site WalletHub, which ranks all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C. primarily based on how ceaselessly their residents are victimized by identification theft and fraud crimes — and the way a lot cash they’ve misplaced to fraud, on common.
Listed here are the nation’s seven most susceptible locations for identification theft and fraud, in accordance with the report:
- Washington D.C.
- Rhode Island
Washington D.C. tops the listing because the place with essentially the most on-line fraud and identification theft. Based on the report, D.C. had a very excessive variety of fraud complaints per capita final yr: 1,701 complaints per 100,000 residents, primarily based on Federal Commerce Fee statistics.
Rhode Island topped the rankings for essentially the most identification theft complaints per capita: 2,857 experiences per 100,000 residents in 2021, in accordance with the FTC information. That is in comparison with simply 76 experiences per 100,000 residents in South Dakota, the bottom quantity recorded by the FTC.
On the opposite finish of the spectrum, WalletHub ranked Montana because the state the place residents have been least affected by identification theft and fraud final yr after the state recorded the second-fewest identification theft complaints per capita in 2021.
To compile its rankings, WalletHub says it judged every state and district primarily based on 14 “key metrics.” The rankings give essentially the most weight to the variety of identification theft and fraud complaints per capita, in addition to the common losses for the victims of these complaints.
The report additionally takes into consideration the variety of arrests for fraud in every state in 2021, and every state’s information disposal legal guidelines and state sources devoted to cybersecurity process forces.
WalletHub relied on information from the FTC, Web Crime Grievance Heart, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Experian Data Options and Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures.
A pandemic-inspired uptick in fraud
The Covid-19 pandemic helped to spur an uptick in identification theft and fraud circumstances, lots of which originated on social media platforms, the FTC has beforehand famous.
Information breaches are rising in frequency, and hackers are preying on struggling People by utilizing stolen private data to fraudulently declare pandemic reduction funds and unemployment advantages.
And whereas social media scams are on the rise, the commonest method scammers engaged potential fraud victims final yr was nonetheless by telephone, with these victims additionally reporting shedding $1,200 on common, in accordance with the FTC. That is 3 times the common quantity misplaced to social media scams.
You’ll be able to take some clear steps to cut back a scammer’s alternatives to steal your private and monetary data.
Specialists counsel utilizing stronger and extra distinctive passwords to guard your on-line accounts. You may even take into account enabling multi-factor authentication and utilizing a password supervisor app that securely shops all your passwords and may solely be accessed by a single grasp password.
However your finest software for avoiding fraudsters is consciousness, hacker-turner-security-consultant Kevin Mitnick informed CNBC Make It in October.
Be vigilant in looking for potential scammers. Solely click on a hyperlink or present delicate data over the telephone in the event you’re completely positive the particular person or entity on the opposite finish is legit. Should you’re not sure, go to that group’s official web site or name their official telephone quantity to confirm.
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