Illinois is extra vulnerable when it comes to identity theft

Marc FilippinoReboot Illinois

January 06, 2017

Are you noticing a few unauthorized charges in your bank account after this holiday season? Well, if you are you’re probably not alone. Illinois has become a hotbed for identity theft and fraud.

Fraud and identity theft is such a serious issue in Illinois that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan published a press release recently asking residents be careful when donating to potentially phony charities. Madigan wrote:

“There are many wonderful organizations making a real impact in communities across Illinois, but it’s important to take time to research an organization before you donate to ensure your contribution will be used to further the charitable mission you want to support,” Madigan said.

To see Madigan’s tips on how to avoid being scammed by fake charities, click here.

So it’s not surprising Illinois nears the top of WalletHub’s list, “2016’s States Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft & Fraud.” WalletHub clears up that Illinois isn’t the only state that has trouble when it comes to getting duped by scammers. WalletHub writes:

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s most recent Data Breach Report, 901 breaches with access to more than 34 million records have taken place thus far in 2016, and more are likely to be reported by the end of the year. Until 2015, identity theft was the top complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission for 15 consecutive years. And while more aggressive measures have been taken to improve the security of our personal information, criminal strategies constantly evolve and grow in sophistication, keeping consumers vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. 

This map shows Illinois has some company when it comes to these issues. The redder the state, the more vulnerable it is.

Certain states have a harder time with scammers than others. WalletHub ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia by looking at things like identity-theft complaints per capita and a state’s average loss amount due to fraud.

First, let’s take a look at the 10  least vulnerable states. Note: The higher the scores, the more secure the state.

Oklahoma

  • Identity theft rank: 42
  • Fraud rank: 43
  • Total score: 45.78

Kentucky

  • Identity theft rank: 41
  • Fraud rank: 48
  • Overall score: 45.35

Idaho

  • Identity theft rank: 47
  • Fraud rank: 44
  • Overall score: 45.34

Montana

  • Identity theft rank: 49
  • Fraud rank: 23
  • Overall score: 45.18

Iowa

  • Identity theft rank: 43
  • Fraud rank: 37
  • Overall score: 43.35

North Dakota

  • Identity theft rank: 48
  • Fraud rank: 45
  • Overall score:  42.65

Arkansas

  • Identity theft rank: 45
  • Fraud rank: 46
  • Overall score: 41.56

West Virginia

  • Identity theft rank: 46
  • Fraud rank:  50
  • Overall score: 41.17

Maine

  • Identity theft rank: 37
  • Fraud rank: 51
  • Overall score: 35.74

South Dakota

  • Identity theft rank:  50
  • Fraud rank: 49
  • Overall score: 35.74

And now the 10 areas that are MOST vulnerable...

Connecticut

  • Identity theft rank: 8
  • Fraud rank: 18
  • Overall score: 65.12

Missouri

  • Identity theft rank: 7
  • Fraud rank: 28
  • Overall score: 65.49

Michigan

  • Identity theft rank: 12
  • Fraud rank: 8
  • Overall score: 66.22

Texas

  • Identity theft rank: 18
  • Fraud rank: 4
  • Overall score: 67.60

Illinois

  • Identity theft rank: 2
  • Fraud rank: 38
  • Overall score: 69.11

Nevada

  • Identity theft rank: 14
  • Fraud rank: 2
  • Overall score: 69.29

Massachusetts

  • Identity theft rank: 4
  • Fraud rank: 32
  • Overall score: 71.84

Florida

  • Identity theft rank: 5
  • Fraud rank: 5
  • Overall score: 77.22

California

  • Identity theft rank: 3
  • Fraud rank: 3
  • Overall score:  82.25

District of Columbia

  • Identity theft rank: 1
  • Fraud rank: 1
  • Overall score: 98.61

WalletHub also provided some quick tips for avoiding identity theft & fraund

  • Emphasize Email Security: It’s obviously important to use strong passwords for all financial accounts, but you may not realize how essential it is to focus on email in the course of shoring up such cyber defenses. Your primary email address will likely serve as your username and means of resetting your password on other websites, so if it’s vulnerable, all of your other accounts will be, too. As a result, make sure to use an especially secure password and establish two-step verification for this account.
  • Sign Up for Credit Monitoring: Credit monitoring is the best way to keep tabs on your credit report, providing peace of mind in the form of alerts about important changes to your file, including potential signs of identity theft. WalletHub offers free monitoring of your TransUnion credit report.
  • Leverage Account Alerts & Update Contact Info: Setting up online management for all of your financial accounts (e.g., credit cards, loans, Social Security), and keeping your phone number, email address and street address up to date will make them harder for identity thieves to hijack. Establishing alerts for changes to your contact info and other suspicious account activity will serve as a safeguard.
  • Exercise Common Sense Online: Don’t open emails you don’t recognize. Don’t download files from untrustworthy sources. Don’t send account numbers and passwords via email or messenger applications. And don’t enter financial or personal information into websites that lack the “https” prefix in the URL.

See more tips from WalletHub here.

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