Florida: The #1 State for Identity Theft

Consumers filed nearly 2.6 million complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer groups in 2014, and identity theft was the most common kind, making up 13% of complaints, according to the annual Consumer Sentinel Network report.

Identity theft is a national issue — the 332,646 identity theft complaints made 2014 the year with the second-most complaints of that kind in 14 years (there were 369,143 in 2012) — but the crime has hot spots across the country. It seems to be a particularly common occurrence in Florida, because the state had the most identity theft complaints per capita in 2014. Seven Florida metropolitan statistical areas are in the top 20 areas for identity theft complaints, more than any other state.

But identity theft isn’t just a problem in Florida. Here are some other states with a huge proportion of complaints.

10. Texas (tie)
Number of identity theft complaints in 2014: 25,843
Number of identity theft complaints per 100,000 people: 95.9

10. Maryland (tie)
Number of ID theft complaints: 5,734
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 95.9

9. Arizona
Number of ID theft complaints: 6,460
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 96

8. Nevada
Number of ID theft complaints: 2,846
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 100.2

7. California
Number of ID theft complaints: 38,982
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 100.5

6. Michigan
Number of ID theft complaints: 10,338
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 104.3

5. Georgia
Number of ID theft complaints: 11,384
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 112.7

4. Missouri
Number of ID theft complaints: 7,195
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 118.7

3. Oregon
Number of ID theft complaints: 4,946
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 124.6

2. Washington
Number of ID theft complaints: 10,930
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 154.8

1. Florida
Number of ID theft complaints: 37,059
Number of ID complaints per 100,000 people: 186.3

These are just reported incidents of identity theft, so the real number of victims is likely to be much higher. It has become an increasingly common crime, particularly in what you could call the Age of the Data Breach. Despite the flood of breaches that hit U.S. companies in the last year, identity theft actually made up a smaller portion of consumer complaints than it did in 2012, when they accounted for 17%.

It’s extremely difficult to prevent identity theft, but if you’re paying close attention to your financial accounts, credit reports and credit scores, you’re more likely to see signs of the crime and act quickly to prevent them from seriously or further damaging your financial well-being. If gone undetected, identity theft can make a mess of your credit, not to mention how much more costly it will be to recover.

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