This Study Says These 5 States are Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft

Been hacked lately?

I hate asking that question so casually, but 2017 has been a year of big-time data breaches, including the recent Equifax incident, which exposed approximately 145.5 million Americans’ info.

If you managed to squeak through the hackers’ cracks, you’re probably feeling pretty invincible, right?

Not so fast.

WalletHub recently concluded some Americans are more susceptible to these crimes than others. It analyzed a number of factors, including identity-theft complaints per capita and average loss per theft, in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

In the end, WalletHub found these five states are most vulnerable to identity theft:

  1. California
  2. Rhode Island
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia

It also ranked states by the average amount of loss due to online identity theft. These states, in order of highest loss, include:

  1. California
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Vermont
  4. New York
  5. Connecticut

In case you’re curious, the “lowest average loss amount due to online identity theft” award goes to South Dakota.

Yup, packing up my winter coats as we speak…

How to Protect Your Identity in Two Minutes

Start by taking the easiest of steps.

Create strong passwords, be mindful when shopping online and applying to jobs, and sign up for a credit-monitoring service.

I signed up for Credit Sesame — because if it’s free, it’s for me! — and now receive monthly credit-report updates to my inbox. Credit Sesame will also text me if anyone attempts to apply for credit in my name.

I can also review my credit report at any time for any suspicious activity. (And, no, it won’t hurt my credit score.)

Additionally, it covers me for up to $50,000 in identity-theft insurance. Fo’ free.

Honestly, it’s like a built-in alarm system for my credit report. Just like a security system for my house, it helps me sleep better at night. (OK, that’s cheesy, but don’t you sleep better knowing a shockingly loud alarm will sound if someone tries to break in?!)

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wishes she could keep virtual pepper spray next to her credit report. But Credit Sesame is a great alternative.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, one of the largest personal finance websites. We help millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. In 2016, Inc. 500 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the No. 1 fastest-growing private media company in the U.S.

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