When it comes to identity theft and fraud, New York has the dubious distinction of ranking as the ninth most vulnerable state in the nation.
The online credit website WalletHub has released a new study that uses numerous yardsticks for determining where people are most susceptible to such crimes. It compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia, analyzing data that included the number of identity theft complaints per capita.
New York’s low ranking is largely attributed to the fact that victims typically lose more money per incident than people in other states.
“The average amount lost as a result of an internet identity theft is one of the highest in the country in NewYork at around $12,500 on average,” said WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez. “So those big loss numbers is what really dragged New York down in those rankings.”
Consumers' vulnerability to identity theft and fraud can be reduced by following some basic practices.
“I think it’s really lack of awareness of consumers of exactly how to use wifi connections, what’s secure, what isn’t secure, what to be passing along through unsecure connections, like simple information from birth dates to addresses to, of course, very private information like social security number.”
Consumers are also urged to shred sensitive mail, lock their mailboxes and sign up for credit monitoring.
A social security number is the most valuable piece of information a identity theft can steal. Experts urge consumers to safeguard numbers by never carrying a social security card or any form of identification that contains this number.