If You Live in These States, You're More Likely to Have Your Identity Stolen
Plus, 10 tips for preventing ID theft
What do residents of the District of Columbia and Florida have in common? They’re more likely than people in any other state to be victims of identity theft and fraud, according to analysts at WalletHub.
That said, no one is immune from the threat of identity theft. So far in 2015, there have been 750 data breaches that gave thieves access to nearly 178 million records, according to the most recent data breach report from the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC).
Related: Is Your Mobile Wallet Secure?
WalletHub’s analysts used the ITRC’s data to compare the 50 states and the District of Columbia across nine metrics, such as the total number of identity theft complaints per 100,000 residents and the total cybercrime-related dollar losses per capita.
Use the map below to see how your state ranks.
How to prevent
1. Don’t give out your security number unless you have to, such as for tax purposes or employment. If you do give it out, ask who will see it and how it will be used.
2. Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or online unless you initiated the contact with the person or company.
3. Shred documents that contain personal information instead of tossing them in the trash or recycling bin. And use a cross-cut shredder.
4. Review your bank and credit card statements to look for fraudulent purchases or debits. If you find any, report them to your financial institution immediately.
5. Use a strong password on your financial accounts. It should be at least eight characters long, use upper and lowercase letters and contain at least one number or symbol.
6. Keep computer software updated, including anti-virus and malware protection software.
7. Turn on the firewall for your home network. Most routers come with a firewall, which blocks unauthorized people from breaking into your network.
8. Check your credit report once a year, and review your credit history to make sure it’s accurate.
9. Bring your mail into the house promptly, and don’t leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox for the postman to pick up. Drop them into a mail collection box instead.
10. Use only secure WiFi connections. Free public WiFi is very insecure. If you do use free public WiFi, consider using VPN software to secure the link.
Related: 6 Tips for Safer Online Banking
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