When it comes to being vulnerable to identity theft and fraud, California ranks second in nation, second only to the District of Columbia, according to WalletHub, a free credit-monitoring website.

Consider that between January 1, 2005 and August 31, 2019, there have been 10,818 breaches, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s most recent Data Breach Report. That accounts for over 1.6 billion records compromised.

In recent years, many Americans’ personal information has become compromised by big data breaches. In 2019 alone, prominent companies like WhatsApp, Quest Diagnostics, Microsoft, ASUS and Capital One have fallen victim to cybercriminals, according to WalletHub.

To determine where Americans are most susceptible to such crimes, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics. The data set ranges from identity-theft complaints per capita to average loss amount due to fraud.

California’s Vulnerability to Identity Theft & Fraud (1=Most Vulnerable; 25=Avg.)

  • 1st – Identity-Theft Complaints per Capita
  • 1st – Average Loss Amount Due to Online Identity Theft
  • 18th – Fraud & Other Complaints per Capita
  • 6th – Median Loss Amount Due to Fraud
  • 18th – State Security-Freeze Laws for Minors’ Credit Reports
  • 1st – Identity-Theft Passport Program
  • 5th – Compliance with REAL ID Act

Quick Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft & Fraud

  • 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. Your primary email address will likely serve as your username and means of resetting your password on other websites. 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. It provides 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.
  • Use 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 their URLs.

Read the full report here.

Image Sources

  • Identify Theft: Shutterstock