Florida

US News reports that Florida is the sixth largest state at risk for identity theft

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida is ranked the 6th most dangerous state for residents when it comes to identity theft, according to a new report from US News. The report ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia by identity theft rate over three years and compares frequency to overall fraud.

While US News reported, “Georgia stood out as the least secure state for identity theft,” Florida ranked sixth, due in part to having “the second-highest number of identity theft cases in 2019 before picking up slightly in 2021.”

The top 10 states were:

  1. Georgia
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Louisiana
  4. Illinois
  5. Texas
  6. Florida
  7. Kansas
  8. South Carolina
  9. Nevada
  10. Massachusetts

According to the US News report’s methodology, the analysis was based on identity theft reports per 100,000 people between 2019 and 2021, how many “total frauds” were reported due to identity theft, which states had their own privacy laws, and which states had identity theft passport laws. Some of the data US News relied on for their study came from the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Resource Center.

The ITRC is due to release new data on identity crime victims on Wednesday, dubbed the Annual Data Breach Report. According to the center, it will be released as part of Privacy Week, which runs from January 22-28. The report itself will focus on data for 2022.

Because US News’ rankings focused on the years 2019-2021, some of the data came from the previous annual report. The 2021 report states that “the United States has had more data breach notifications than any other year since the enactment of the first state data breach notification law” in 2003.

ITRC reported data breaches in 2021 were 68% higher in 2020 and 23% higher than a previous record.

“Total data breaches (1,862) increased 68 percent from 2020; The new record number of data breaches is 23 percent above the previous all-time high (1,506),” ITRC said in the 2021 annual report. The only sector where data breaches did not increase, according to ITRC, was the military sector.

Instead, the manufacturing and utilities sector saw a 217% increase in data breaches or breaches in 2021. Breaches include ransomware attacks, supply chain attacks, and other data breaches related to cyber attacks such as malware or phishing, according to the report. It has also been reported that data breaches are losing their transparency.

“The lack of actionable information in security breach reports prevents consumers from effectively assessing the risks they face from identity breaches and taking appropriate steps to protect themselves.”

Consumer Sentinel Network FTC data reported that Florida fraud losses totaled $331.3 million in 2021. The average amount lost for Floridians who were victims of identity theft and other types of fraud was $532 per person. 25% of Floridians who were victims of identity theft or fraud said they lost money, according to the 2021 report.

Overall, Florida’s most common types of identity theft were:

  • credit card fraud
  • Other identity theft
  • Credit or Lease Fraud
  • Fraud involving government documents or benefits
  • bank fraud

The latest quarterly data for 2022, which focused on breaches in the third quarter, found that while data breaches increased from the first half of 2022, it is “unlikely” the total would hit a record high.

In the third quarter, however, data breaches still increased by 15% compared to the previous three months. The number of data breach victims also increased “dramatically” by 210%, while supply chain attacks rose even more, at 250%, according to the third-quarter data.

The ITRC said that while 2022 is unlikely to be a record year for breaches, it is still expected to see a higher number of breaches than previous years.

“Without a dramatic spike in data breaches in the fourth quarter of 2022, the total number of data breaches is unlikely to set a record this year,” ITRC reported. “The total number of data breaches is likely to surpass the penultimate record set in 2017 of 1,506 breaches.”

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