Tax scams are on the rise --  here's which states are most and least at risk for identity theft

Sarah Rice/GettyIdentity theft and credit card fraud cause Americans millions of dollars in losses.
  • Tax fraud is top of mind during tax season, but identity theft affects Americans year-round.
  • Both identity theft and credit card fraud have a national average cost between $US2,500 and $US3,000.
  • Nevada is the worst state for these financial crimes, while residents of Iowa are least likely to experience identity theft.

Identity theft can strike anyone, anywhere. Even during tax season.

The latest tax scam Americans need to watch out for, according to the IRS, is a twist on old favourite: filing a fake tax return with stolen personal information, like your Social Security number.

But financial fraud takes many shapes. And some places in the US may be more susceptible to the crimes.

The average loss in cases of identity theft is $US2,678 and $US2,935 for credit card fraud, but the amount varies greatly between different states.

RewardExpert found out which states are the biggest targets for credit card fraud and identity theft and where these financial breaches happen less frequently. In 2016, credit card fraud increased nationally by 5.15% – but that was offset by a drop in identity theft of 16.05%.

To rank each state in terms of security, RewardExpert took the incidence rate of credit card fraud and identity theft in each state and adjusted for the financial severity of the losses. They also took into account year-over-year trends, and data from the FBI’s Internet Complaint Center.

The southwest is a particularly bad geographic region for these crimes with Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California all being among the 10 states most at risk. States in the Great Plains have less to worry about: Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota are several of the 10 safest states.

Below, find all 50 states ranked from the highest risk of identity theft and credit card fraud to the least.

We’ve also included each state’s per capita income, the frequency of credit card fraud and identity theft (per 100,000 residents), and the average loss associated with both.


50. Nevada

Per capita income: $US52,431

Credit card fraud per capita: 872 cases per 100,000 residents

Identity theft per capita: 135.8 cases per 100,000 residents

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,322.69

Average ID theft loss: $US3,281.13


49. California

Per capita income: $US64,500

Credit card fraud per capita: 713.1

Identity theft per capita: 139.5

Average credit card fraud loss: $US3,667.90

Average ID theft loss: $US7,543.42


48. New Mexico

Per capita income: $US48,382

Credit card fraud per capita: 667.9

Identity theft per capita: 96.9

Average credit card fraud loss: $US3,647.95

Average ID theft loss: $US4,325.06


47. Florida

Per capita income: $US49,426

Credit card fraud per capita: 1,305.6

Identity theft per capita: 166.8

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,937.12

Average ID theft loss: $US2,601.68


46. Texas

Flickr Creative commons/Ian Aberle

Per capita income: $US55,653

Credit card fraud per capita: 952.3

Identity theft per capita: 119.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $US7,274.49

Average ID theft loss: $US3,904.31


45. Michigan

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Per capita income: $US51,084

Credit card fraud per capita: 1,083.3

Identity theft per capita: 175.6

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,517.03

Average ID theft loss: $US2,762.87


44. Virginia

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US66,262

Credit card fraud per capita: 701.3

Identity theft per capita: 104.3

Average credit card fraud loss:$US3,098.35

Average ID theft loss: $US1,921.80


43. Arizona

Tim Roberts Photography/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US51,492

Credit card fraud per capita: 656.9

Identity theft per capita: 126.2

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,310.99

Average ID theft loss: $US1,326.71


42. Illinois

Pigprox/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US59,588

Credit card fraud per capita: 576.7

Identity theft per capita: 138

Average credit card fraud loss:$US3,349.46

Average ID theft loss: $US4,700.80


41. Washington

joiseyshowaa via Compfight cc

Per capita income: $US64,129

Credit card fraud per capita: 554.7

Identity theft per capita: 114

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,778.77

Average ID theft loss: $US1,844.74


40. Maryland

Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Per capita income: $US75847

Credit card fraud per capita: 807.7

Identity theft per capita: 137.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,679.17

Average ID theft loss: $US1,572.54


39. Delaware

Per capita income: $US61,255

Credit card fraud per capita: 797.5

Identity theft per capita: 155.9

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,543.10

Average ID theft loss: $US313.08


38. Georgia

photo.ua/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US51,244

Credit card fraud per capita: 1136.6

Identity theft per capita: 124

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,720.19

Average ID theft loss: $US4,574.94


37. Colorado

Doug Pensinger / Getty

Per capita income: $US75,628

Credit card fraud per capita: 609.1

Identity theft per capita: 112

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,535.11

Average ID theft loss: $US2,365.47


36. New York

Per capita income: $US60,850

Credit card fraud per capita: 567.3

Identity theft per capita: 102.3

Average credit card fraud loss:$US3,675.99

Average ID theft loss: $US5,460.86


35. Tennessee

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US47,275

Credit card fraud per capita: 767.3

Identity theft per capita: 86

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,236.56

Average ID theft loss: $US2,008.05


34. Alabama

Rob Hainer/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US44,765

Credit card fraud per capita: 809

Identity theft per capita: 82.4

Average credit card fraud loss:$US505.21

Average ID theft loss: $US1,544.68


33. South Carolina

Per capita income: $US47,238

Credit card fraud per capita: 700.8

Identity theft per capita: 89.5

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,759.78

Average ID theft loss: $US3,997.35


32. Massachusetts

f11photo/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US70,628

Credit card fraud per capita: 547.2

Identity theft per capita: 107

Average credit card fraud loss:$US6,625.95

Average ID theft loss: $US5,032.94


31. Oregon

Per capita income: $US54,148

Credit card fraud per capita: 546.8

Identity theft per capita: 105.3

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,671.59

Average ID theft loss: $US2,090.49


30. North Carolina

Wikimedia Commons/Beyonce245

Per capita income: $US47,830

Credit card fraud per capita: 641.2

Identity theft per capita: 96.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US3,717.67

Average ID theft loss: $US2,151.95


29. Missouri

Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Per capita income: $US50,238

Credit card fraud per capita: 706.5

Identity theft per capita: 136.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$$US2,174.56

Average ID theft loss: $$US1,148.94


28. Connecticut

Nancy Kennedy/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US63,909

Credit card fraud per capita: 590.4

Identity theft per capita: 137.9

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,320.01

Average ID theft loss: $US5,392.72


27. Pennsylvania

Per capita income: $US55,702

Credit card fraud per capita: 659.2

Identity theft per capita: 109.7

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,590.33

Average ID theft loss: $US1,773.72


26. New Jersey

Per capita income: $US72,222

Credit card fraud per capita: 636.7

Identity theft per capita: 111.5

Average credit card fraud loss:$US3,883.53

Average ID theft loss: $US1,758.16


25. Vermont

Per capita income: $US56,990

Credit card fraud per capita: 405.4

Identity theft per capita: 62

Average credit card fraud loss:$US10,026.48

Average ID theft loss: $US12,013.39


24. Minnesota

nikitsin.smugmug.com/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US63,488

Credit card fraud per capita: 470.7

Identity theft per capita: 107.2

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,944.04

Average ID theft loss: $US3,986.29


23. Indiana

Per capita income: $US50,532

Credit card fraud per capita: 562.8

Identity theft per capita: 76.8

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,623.93

Average ID theft loss: $US5,181.35


22. Kentucky

Per capita income: $US45,215

Credit card fraud per capita: 539.7

Identity theft per capita: 65.3

Average credit card fraud loss:$US3,591.98

Average ID theft loss: $US1,911.32


21. Rhode Island

Per capita income: $US58,073

Credit card fraud per capita: 682.1

Identity theft per capita: 115.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US664.24

Average ID theft loss: $US7,257.39


20. Ohio

Shutterstock/Amy Nichole Harris

Per capita income: $US51,075

Credit card fraud per capita: 664.8

Identity theft per capita: 94.8

Average credit card fraud loss:$US4,057.80

Average ID theft loss: $US1,608.43


19. Alaska

Per capita income: $US73,355

Credit card fraud per capita: 358.9

Identity theft per capita: 96.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,778.35

Average ID theft loss: $US761.74


18. Utah

Johnny Adolphson/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US62,912

Credit card fraud per capita: 417.9

Identity theft per capita: 83.2

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,397.32

Average ID theft loss: $US1,086.05


17. Mississippi

Per capita income: $US40,593

Credit card fraud per capita: 609.3

Identity theft per capita: 79.6

Average credit card fraud loss:$US762.89

Average ID theft loss: $US1,137.00


16. Kansas

Per capita income: $US53,906

Credit card fraud per capita: 503.4

Identity theft per capita: 87.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,982.64

Average ID theft loss: $US939.03


15. New Hampshire

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US70,303

Credit card fraud per capita: 563.8

Identity theft per capita: 101.3

Average credit card fraud loss:$US3,567.32

Average ID theft loss: $US933.30


14. Idaho

IDAK/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US48,275

Credit card fraud per capita: 463.4

Identity theft per capita: 80.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,321.21

Average ID theft loss: $US1,685.81


13. Montana

Per capita income: $US49,509

Credit card fraud per capita: 441.2

Identity theft per capita: 68.2

Average credit card fraud loss:$US4,120.54

Average ID theft loss: $US3,439.54


12. West Virginia

Per capita income: $US42,019

Credit card fraud per capita: 543.3

Identity theft per capita: 59.7

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,450.51

Average ID theft loss: $US856.52


11. Oklahoma

Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US48,568

Credit card fraud per capita: 518.7

Identity theft per capita: 85.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $US6,696.69

Average ID theft loss: $US1,128.36


10. Hawaii

Oliver Le/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US73,486

Credit card fraud per capita: 403.8

Identity theft per capita: 55.2

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,722.27

Average ID theft loss: $US1,884.41


9. Louisiana

Per capita income: $US45,727

Credit card fraud per capita: 701.9

Identity theft per capita: 69.7

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,551.59

Average ID theft loss: $US826.73


8. Wisconsin

Per capita income: $US55,638

Credit card fraud per capita: 465.9

Identity theft per capita: 87.5

Average credit card fraud loss:$US11,185.33

Average ID theft loss: $US753.14


7. Nebraska

Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US54,996

Credit card fraud per capita: 411.9

Identity theft per capita: 83.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US4,287.75

Average ID theft loss: $US1,151.07


6. Arkansas

Per capita income: $US41,995

Credit card fraud per capita: 519

Identity theft per capita: 77.2

Average credit card fraud loss:$US820.47

Average ID theft loss: $US2,023.29


5. Maine

Per capita income: $US51,494

Credit card fraud per capita: 423.7

Identity theft per capita: 87.9

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,286.72

Average ID theft loss: $US2,016.96


4. North Dakota

Shutterstock

Per capita income: $US60,557

Credit card fraud per capita: 284.7

Identity theft per capita: 61.3

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,876.56

Average ID theft loss: $US4,533.36


3. Wyoming

Per capita income: $US60,214

Credit card fraud per capita: 416.2

Identity theft per capita: 74.6

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,716.68

Average ID theft loss: $US346.39


2. South Dakota

Per capita income: $US53,017

Credit card fraud per capita: 320.6

Identity theft per capita: 58.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US1,576.58

Average ID theft loss: $US264.43


1. Iowa

Per capita income: $US54,736

Credit card fraud per capita: 342.5

Identity theft per capita: 68.1

Average credit card fraud loss:$US2,235.52

Average ID theft loss: $US818.54

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