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Identity Theft by State_ The Most and Least Vulnerable US States

Identity Theft Risk by State: Most & Least Dangerous US States in 2024

Identity theft in America has been a problem for many years. Though some states are making strides in dealing with crime, it continues to flourish in others. This article explores identity theft by state to help you pinpoint where to be more careful with your details.

Arthur SabayiSamuel ChapmanIgor Kurtz

Written by Arthur Sabayi (Writer)

Reviewed by Samuel Chapman (Writer, Editor)

Facts checked by Igor Kurtz (Fact-checking editor)

Last Updated: 2024-05-07T22:50:46+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Identity theft is a huge problem in the United States, with Americans having lost as much as $12.5 billion in 2023 alone. Credit card fraud was the most rampant form of identity theft, with more than 380,000 reports made in 2023. Today’s identity theft statistics are concerning, so we’re discussing identity theft by state to determine the places where people are most affected.

We’ve created an identity theft map of the United States, noting the states that experience the most identity-related crime and those that see the least. We also compared the change in Identity theft reports from 2022 to 2023 and looked at the different types of laws put in place in each state to tackle identity theft and other related crimes. 

The article also explains how to protect yourself from the pain of identity theft. Ultimately, even if you’re in a high-crime state, you can stay more safe by practicing common sense. If you’re interested in taking extra steps to protect your identity, we’ve gathered a list of the best identity theft protection you can find online. If you’d rather start with the numbers, read on.

Key Findings: Identity Theft in the US

  • The District of Columbia has the highest identity theft risk in the United States, scoring 81.5. It has 478 identity theft reports per 100,000 people despite enacting the Spam Deterrence Act of 2008, which assigns penalties for sending commercial email with false identifying information or a false subject line.
  • Tennessee has the lowest ID theft risk, with only 185 reports per 100,000 people. The state places identity theft in the same category as aggravated statutory rape and vehicular assault, with maximum jail terms of up to 12 years.
  • Georgia and Kentucky have some of the highest fines for identity theft. If you’re found guilty of the crime, you could be fined up to $500,000 and face up to 12 years in prison.
  • Nevada has the longest jail terms for identity theft. Individuals found guilty of causing economic losses through false pretenses can be jailed for up to 20 years, with fines of up to $100,000.
  • Overall, identity theft across most states increased in 2023 compared to 2022. Connecticut recorded the highest jump, with a 69.91% increase in identity theft reports.

Identity Theft by State: Comparison Table

“indicates the presence of a specific law in that state, while “” indicates there’s no specific law.

#US StatesTotal ScoreIdentity Theft Reports per 100KChange in Identity-Theft Reports per 100K (%)U.S. states with data privacy lawsIdentity theft passport lawsU.S. State-Specific Data Disposal LawsState Laws Addressing “Phishing”Security-Freeze Law for Minors’ Credit Reports
1District of Columbia81.547811.42%
12New Jersey46.0283-9.00%
13North Dakota45.31188.26%
15South Carolina44.7294-16.48%
20South Dakota42.99423.68%
24Rhode Island41.4216-2.70%
27New Hampshire39.71380.00%
30North Carolina38.5243-20.33%
33New York36.4256-15.23%
40West Virginia33.8110-25.68%
49New Mexico25.7134-11.26%

Top 10 States With the Highest Risk of Identity Theft Crimes

We obtained the ranking for each state (plus D.C.) by starting with the rate of identity theft per 100,000 residents in 2023. We weighted those numbers for each state based on the change in number of reports from 2022 to 2023, plus factored in the presence of certain identity fraud protection laws. The higher the score, the more prevalent identity theft is in the state.

1. District of Columbia — Score: 81.5

The District of Columbia has the highest rate of identity theft in the United States. The Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department received 478 ID theft reports per 100,000 residents in 2023. 

D.C. enacted a Spam Deterrence Act in 2008 that prohibited the sending of commercial email with false identifying information or a false subject line. The punishment ranges from fines to jail sentences of up to 10 years. Despite this, identity theft is still a huge problem.

2. Massachusetts — Score: 78.9

The local police department and credit agencies in the state of Massachusetts received 351 identity theft reports per 100,000 people in 2023. This is a 58.11% increase compared to 2022, which saw 222 reports per 100,000 people.

Federal law in Massachusetts allows consumers to place and lift security freezes on their credit reports for free. Parents and guardians acting on behalf of children and other young persons under the age of 16 are also permitted to freeze a minor’s credit report.

3. Connecticut — Score: 70.8

Third on our list is Connecticut, where 384 out of every 100,000 citizens reported having their identity stolen in 2023. This represents a sharp increase compared to 2022, with 226 reports per 100,000 people. The majority of these reports are made to the local police department, though major credit bureaus are also occasionally involved.

Connecticut has enacted more identity theft laws than Massachusetts or the District of Columbia. The state passed general and civil laws in 2001 that safeguard data privacy, specific data disposal, minors’ credit reports and anti-phishing laws.

Why are identity theft cases so high in Connecticut despite the state enacting many security laws? The answer could lie in the relatively lenient punishments under these laws, Connecticut’s relatively high median income or the presence of more vulnerable populations.

4. Nevada — Score: 60.9

Nevada had 404 identity theft reports per 100,000 people in 2023. This represents a 0.75% increase from the number of reports in 2022, which stood at 401. Residents of Nevada are allowed to request a freeze on their credit records for a small fee. The fee is usually waived for victims of identity theft.

Additionally, Nevada has some of the most severe penalties for perpetrators of identity theft, with up to $100,000 in fines or 20 years in prison. These harsh penalties have done as little to deter theft as Connecticut’s lenient fines, suggesting that there isn’t a strong relationship between penalties and rates of identity theft.

5. Pennsylvania — Score: 57.5

In 2023, the Federal Trade Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, among others, received 314 identity theft reports per 100,000 residents. 

Though high on our list, Pennsylvania experienced a 13.74% drop in identity theft reports compared to 2022, which had 364 reports per 100,000 people. ID theft laws in Pennsylvania categorize a first-time offense as a misdemeanor, with fines and imprisonment for repeat offenders reaching $10,000 and seven years, respectively.

6. Georgia — Score: 54.7

With a population of more than 10 million, Georgia had 457 identity theft reports per 100,000 people in 2023, a 19.4% drop compared to the 567 reports per 100,000 residents in 2022. Notable laws in the state include data disposal laws, anti-phishing laws and laws regarding security freezes for minors’ credit reports. 

Identity theft is a felony under Section 16-19-121 of the Official Code of Georgia. The FTC, the local police or credit reporting agencies like Experian, TransUnion and Equifax normally handle reports. A person in violation of this law or involved in other identity theft-related incidents can be subject to a jail term of up to 20 years, fines of up to $500,000 or both.

7. Ohio — Score: 53.6

Law enforcement agencies like the police department in Ohio received 294 reports per 100,000 people in 2023 from a total population of more than 11 million. This represents a 11.79% increase in reports compared to 2022, which had 263 reports per 100,000 people. 

Ohio’s identity theft laws classify offenses depending on severity. The least severe charge is a fifth-degree felony when financial losses aren’t involved, with perpetrators receiving fines of up to $2,500 or 12 months’ imprisonment. A first-degree felony can lead to fines of up to $20,000 or a jail term of up to 11 years, depending on the losses the victim incurs.

8. Nebraska — Score: 50.0

In 2023, the police, credit bureaus and financial institutions recorded 137 identity theft reports per 100,000 residents. Though this is the lowest among the states we have covered so far, it still represents a 33.01% increase compared to 2022, which had 103 reports per 100,000 residents. 

Nebraska has a criminal impersonation statute that makes identity theft a crime, with the classification ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the victim’s losses. The state just passed a data privacy law that may help law enforcement deal with identity theft and related crimes.

9. Florida — Score: 48.9

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement received 438 reports of identity theft per 100,000 people in 2023. This is a significant 15.93% drop compared to 2022, where 521 identity theft reports per 100,000 people were filed. 

A federal ID theft law in Florida called the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act was passed in 1998. The accompanying punishment ranges from large fines to up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

10. Arizona — Score: 46.4

Wrapping up our list of states with the highest rates of identity theft is Arizona. In 2023, the FTC and local police departments filed 262 identity theft reports per 100,000 residents — a negligible 1.13% drop from 2022, which recorded 265 ID theft reports per 100,000 residents. 

Identity theft is a class four felony in Arizona. This is the least serious of all felony charges, but it still carries a punishment of two and a half years in prison. This can be increased depending on the severity of the identity theft crime committed.

Top 10 States With the Lowest Risk of Identity Theft Crimes

Let’s take a look at the states where you’re least likely to be a victim of identity theft, starting with the most secure.

1. Tennessee — Score: 22.5 

In 2023, fraud investigators received 185 reports per 100,000 people in Tennessee. This represents a 21.28% drop from 2022, when there were 235 reports per 100,000 residents. 

Identity theft is a class D felony in Tennessee. For context, that puts it in the same category as vehicular assault, extortion and aggravated statutory rape, so it’s a pretty serious charge. Perpetrators can be jailed for two to 12 years, with fines of up to $5,000. 

2. Montana — Score: 25.2

In 2023, law enforcement and Montana’s Office of Consumer Protection and Victim Services received 126 identity theft reports per 100,000 people — an 21.15% increase compared to 2022, when 104 reports per 100,000 residents were made. 

Under Montana’s identity theft laws, first offenses are charged as misdemeanors for economic losses of $1,500 and below. These carry a maximum jail term of six months, fines of up to $1,500 or both. Any identity theft that results in losses of more than $1,500 is upgraded to a felony, with up to 10 years imprisonment, fines of up to $10,000 or both. 

3. New Mexico — Score: 25.7

Third on our list is New Mexico, whose police departments recorded 134 identity thefts per 100,000 people in 2023 — an 11.26% drop from 2022’s 151 reports per 100,000 people. Identity theft is a felony in New Mexico punishable with up to 18 years in prison or $15,000 in fines and restitution to the victim. This is one of the most severe ID theft punishments in the U.S.

4. Utah — Score: 26.2

Utah is home to 3.271 million people. In 2023, police departments filed 165 identity theft reports per 100,000 people in the state. This represents a 3.51% drop from 2022, which had 171 reports per 100,000 people. 

Identity theft is a felony in Utah if the victim’s losses total more than $1,000. The crime attracts fines of up to $10,000, a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison or both. Any loss of less than $1,000 is considered a misdemeanor. If the losses surpass $5,000, the charge is upgraded to a second-degree felony, which is in the same ballpark as armed robbery and arson. 

5. Kentucky — Score: 27.8

Kentucky had 119 reports per 100,000 people in 2023, the same as 2022. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 protects residents of Kentucky by making identity theft a federal crime punishable with up to 12 years in prison or $500,000 in fines.

6. Kansas — Score: 28.8

Police departments in Kansas in conjunction with the FTC recorded 150 identity theft reports per 100,000 people in 2023. This is a 22.28% drop compared to 2022, which had 193 reports. 

Identity theft and fraud are prohibited in the state of Kansas, and the punishment depends on the losses the victim incurs. Monetary losses of more than $100,000 carry the heaviest punishment, with up to 11 years in prison or up to $300,000 in fines.

7. Virginia — Score: 28.9

Law enforcement and credit bureaus in Virginia, which has a population of more than 8 million, recorded 224 identity theft reports per 100,000 people in 2023, a 13.18% drop from the previous year’s 258 reports. 

Identity fraud is a class one misdemeanor and in the same category as larceny, possession of stolen property, and breaking and entering. It comes with a maximum of 12 months in prison or fines of up to $2,500. Identity theft crimes that involve more victims and higher losses are punishable with up to 10 years in prison and higher fines. 

8. Arkansas — Score: 32.0

In 2023, police and sheriff departments across Arkansas received 169 reports per 100,000 people — a slight 2.31% drop from the 173 reports per 100,000 people in 2022. The state has identity theft laws that split offenses into those that involve financial fraud and those that are considered non-financial.

9. Indiana — Score: 32.0

In 2023, 176 per 100,000 people in Indiana had their identities stolen. This represents a 4.35% drop from 2022, when 184 reports were made per 100,000 residents. Indiana treats identity theft as a felony, with jail terms and fines depending on the victim’s losses. 

10. Hawaii — Score: 32.1

The Honolulu police department and other security agencies recorded 122 identity theft reports per 100,000 people in 2023. This represents a slight 3.17% improvement compared to 2022, when 126 reports were recorded. All forms of identity theft are considered a felony and can be handled by any prosecuting attorney.

Tips for Identity Theft Prevention

Identity theft is more widespread than most people may want to admit. Though it continues to claim unsuspecting victims, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Our guide on how to prevent identity theft goes into more detail.

  1. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet. This eliminates the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. At the same time, don’t provide your social security number to anyone through email, phone or text unless you’re sure who you’re dealing with. Verification is the key to data protection.
  2. Be alert to phishing scams. Know their tactics, such as asking for information that the entity they’re pretending to be would already have. Unless you can verify the recipient’s identity, keep your personal information private.
  3. Update your passwords regularly to reduce the chances of being hacked. More than half of hacks begin with weak, easily guessed passwords. Generating strong passwords and changing them regularly prevents unauthorized access to sensitive information and blunts the impact of a data breach that reveals your credentials.
  4. Limit what you share on social media. Tech-savvy thieves could use details like your home address or the names and birthdates of your children to launch phishing attacks against you.
  5. Dispose of your cards safely once they’ve served their purpose. This includes shredding your credit cards so details like your card number and name are not visible.
  6. Use a VPN when accessing public networks. Free public WiFi may be irresistible, but it comes with many risks, as hackers may be able to capture your data if they see you on a banking site. A VPN uses encryption to prevent this.
  7. Report any suspicious activity in your bank accounts as soon as you’re aware of it. You can limit your financial loss if you report it in a timely manner. Contact your bank to block your cards if you misplace them, set up a fraud alert with the three bureaus and file a report with the police when you detect suspicious activity using your details.

Methodology & Sources

We ranked the 50 U.S. states plus D.C. based on the following factors.

  1. Identity Theft Reports per 100,000: 37.5 weight points
    Looking at the number of reports filed per 100,000 people is the most accurate way to determine how widespread identity theft is, but it doesn’t provide the full picture.
  2. Change in Identity Theft Reports: 37.5 weight points
    We also compared the number of reports per 100,000 people for 2023 and 2022 to see whether the incidences went up or down. A state with ID theft on the rise was assumed to pose more risk.
  3. Presence of Identity Theft Laws: 25 weight points
    We also considered states that had various laws created to deal with identity theft and other related crimes.  We assigned five weight points each for availability of identity theft laws, data privacy laws, state-specific data disposal laws, laws addressing phishing and security freeze laws for minor’s credit reports.


  1. Federal Trade Commission
  2. National Conference of State Legislatures
  3. Infosec Institute, Inc.
  4. Bloomberg Law
  5. Blancco

Final Thoughts

Identity theft continues to be a major problem in the United States, but some states are making great efforts to curb it. The most effective method to reduce ID theft is to enact laws that protect people from common theft methods, but you can also take back some control with free identity theft protection services.

Ultimately, dealing with this scourge requires both laws and individual caution. Have you been a victim of identity theft? How did you resolve the issue? Tell us in the comments below, and thank you for reading.

FAQ: Identity Theft Complaints by State

  • Though not technically a state, the District of Columbia ranked at the top for identity theft with a score of 81.5, with 478 reports per 100,000 residents in 2023.

  • Most identity theft occurs when people unwittingly share sensitive information with thieves masquerading as legitimate entities.

  • Some measures that the Federal Trade Commission has taken include keeping logs of victim complaints, providing victims with the informational materials they need to pursue a case and referring the cases to the appropriate entities.

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