Online Security Leader Has An Identity Theft Warning for New York
When I was growing up, my mom always joked that if someone stole her identity that they’d probably beg her to take it back. Comedy gold, but when you actually get your identity stolen it’s no laughing matter.
If you’ve owned a PC in the last 15 years, you’re probably familiar with McAfee Security. Yes, they may have the most annoying pop ups and update requests in the game, but they still work to protect individuals and companies from large scale cyber threats. In their quest to stay ahead of a new generation of thieves, McAfee analyzed all identity thefts reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the last five years.
McAfee and the FTC found growing numbers in New York, with our state ranking eighth highest for ID theft victims. Approximately 4 in 750 New Yorkers have their identities stolen each year. Instances of identity theft also doubled from 2019 to 2020 and haven’t decreased.
They found that children are in some of the most danger, with identity thieves increasingly targeting minors. Child identity theft is using the personal information of someone under the age of 18 to commit bank fraud. This can cripple a kid’s credit and financial outlook before they’ve even left home. Another rising prevalent crime is medical identity theft - using someone else’s name to illegally obtain prescription drugs.
Government documents and benefits fraud had a massive spike in 2020 and 2021, likely correlating to the government stimulus checks.
Here’s possibly the most bonkers fact that McAfee discovered: it may be the smallest state, but Rhode Island is #1 for identity theft. The per capita rate is 2,857 cases per 100,000 citizens – 3% of the entire state’s population. (Maybe they’re all leaving their password as password?)
The states with the lowest identity theft rates were South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. (It’s because there’s nobody there.)