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

  • 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 $2,500 and $3,000.
  • 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 favorite: 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 $2,678 and $2,935 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:

States at most risk of identity fraud
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States at most risk of identity fraud

50. Nevada

Per capita income: $52,431

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: $2,322.69

Average ID theft loss: $3,281.13 

Photo credit: Getty

49. California

Per capita income: $64,500

Credit card fraud per capita: 713.1

Identity theft per capita: 139.5

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,667.90

Average ID theft loss: $7,543.42 

Photo credit: Getty

48. New Mexico

Per capita income: $48,382

Credit card fraud per capita: 667.9

Identity theft per capita: 96.9

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,647.95

Average ID theft loss: $4,325.06 

Photo credit: Getty

47. Florida

Per capita income: $49,426

Credit card fraud per capita: 1,305.6

Identity theft per capita: 166.8

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,937.12

Average ID theft loss: $2,601.68 

Photo credit: Getty

46. Texas

Per capita income: $55,653

Credit card fraud per capita: 952.3

Identity theft per capita: 119.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $7,274.49

Average ID theft loss: $3,904.31 

Photo credit: Getty

45. Michigan

Per capita income: $51,084

Credit card fraud per capita: 1,083.3

Identity theft per capita: 175.6

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,517.03

Average ID theft loss: $2,762.87 

Photo credit: Getty

44. Virginia

Per capita income: $66,262

Credit card fraud per capita: 701.3

Identity theft per capita: 104.3

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,098.35

Average ID theft loss: $1,921.80 

Photo credit: Getty

43. Arizona

Per capita income: $51,492

Credit card fraud per capita: 656.9

Identity theft per capita: 126.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,310.99

Average ID theft loss: $1,326.71 

Photo credit: Getty

42. Illinois

Per capita income: $59,588

Credit card fraud per capita: 576.7

Identity theft per capita: 138

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,349.46

Average ID theft loss: $4,700.80 

Photo credit: Getty

41. Washington

Per capita income: $64,129

Credit card fraud per capita: 554.7

Identity theft per capita: 114

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,778.77

Average ID theft loss: $1,844.74 

Photo credit: Getty

40. Maryland

Per capita income: $75847

Credit card fraud per capita: 807.7

Identity theft per capita: 137.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,679.17

Average ID theft loss: $1,572.54 

Photo credit: Getty

39. Delaware

Per capita income: $61,255

Credit card fraud per capita: 797.5

Identity theft per capita: 155.9

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,543.10

Average ID theft loss: $313.08 

Photo credit: Getty

38. Georgia

Per capita income: $51,244

Credit card fraud per capita: 1136.6

Identity theft per capita: 124

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,720.19

Average ID theft loss: $4,574.94 

Photo credit: Getty

37. Colorado

Per capita income: $75,628

Credit card fraud per capita: 609.1

Identity theft per capita: 112

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,535.11

Average ID theft loss: $2,365.47 

Photo credit: Getty

36. New York

Per capita income: $60,850

Credit card fraud per capita: 567.3

Identity theft per capita: 102.3

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,675.99

Average ID theft loss: $5,460.86 

Photo credit: Getty

35. Tennessee

Per capita income: $47,275

Credit card fraud per capita: 767.3

Identity theft per capita: 86

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,236.56

Average ID theft loss: $2,008.05 

Photo credit: Getty

34. Alabama

Per capita income: $44,765

Credit card fraud per capita: 809

Identity theft per capita: 82.4

Average credit card fraud loss: $505.21

Average ID theft loss: $1,544.68 

Photo credit: Getty

33. South Carolina

Per capita income: $47,238

Credit card fraud per capita: 700.8

Identity theft per capita: 89.5

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,759.78

Average ID theft loss: $3,997.35 

Photo credit: Getty

32. Massachusetts

Per capita income: $70,628

Credit card fraud per capita: 547.2

Identity theft per capita: 107

Average credit card fraud loss: $6,625.95

Average ID theft loss: $5,032.94 

Photo credit: Getty

31. Oregon

Per capita income: $54,148

Credit card fraud per capita: 546.8

Identity theft per capita: 105.3

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,671.59

Average ID theft loss: $2,090.49 

Photo credit: Getty

30. North Carolina

Per capita income: $47,830

Credit card fraud per capita: 641.2

Identity theft per capita: 96.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,717.67

Average ID theft loss: $2,151.95 

Photo credit: Getty

29. Missouri

Per capita income: $50,238

Credit card fraud per capita: 706.5

Identity theft per capita: 136.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $$2,174.56

Average ID theft loss: $$1,148.94 

Photo credit: Getty

28. Connecticut

Per capita income: $63,909

Credit card fraud per capita: 590.4

Identity theft per capita: 137.9

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,320.01

Average ID theft loss: $5,392.72 

Photo credit: Getty

27. Pennsylvania

Per capita income: $55,702

Credit card fraud per capita: 659.2

Identity theft per capita: 109.7

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,590.33

Average ID theft loss: $1,773.72 

Photo credit: Getty

26. New Jersey

Per capita income: $72,222

Credit card fraud per capita: 636.7

Identity theft per capita: 111.5

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,883.53

Average ID theft loss: $1,758.16 

Photo credit: Getty

25. Vermont

Per capita income: $56,990

Credit card fraud per capita: 405.4

Identity theft per capita: 62

Average credit card fraud loss: $10,026.48

Average ID theft loss: $12,013.39 

Photo credit: Getty

24. Minnesota

Per capita income: $63,488

Credit card fraud per capita: 470.7

Identity theft per capita: 107.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,944.04

Average ID theft loss: $3,986.29 

Photo credit: Getty

23. Indiana

Per capita income: $50,532

Credit card fraud per capita: 562.8

Identity theft per capita: 76.8

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,623.93

Average ID theft loss: $5,181.35 

Photo credit: Getty

22. Kentucky

Per capita income: $45,215

Credit card fraud per capita: 539.7

Identity theft per capita: 65.3

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,591.98

Average ID theft loss: $1,911.32 

Photo credit: Getty

21. Rhode Island

Per capita income: $58,073

Credit card fraud per capita: 682.1

Identity theft per capita: 115.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $664.24

Average ID theft loss: $7,257.39 

Photo credit: Getty

20. Ohio

Per capita income: $51,075

Credit card fraud per capita: 664.8

Identity theft per capita: 94.8

Average credit card fraud loss: $4,057.80

Average ID theft loss: $1,608.43 

Photo credit: Getty

19. Alaska

Per capita income: $73,355

Credit card fraud per capita: 358.9

Identity theft per capita: 96.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,778.35

Average ID theft loss: $761.74 

Photo credit: Getty

18. Utah

Per capita income: $62,912

Credit card fraud per capita: 417.9

Identity theft per capita: 83.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,397.32

Average ID theft loss: $1,086.05 

Photo credit: Getty

17. Mississippi

Per capita income: $40,593

Credit card fraud per capita: 609.3

Identity theft per capita: 79.6

Average credit card fraud loss: $762.89

Average ID theft loss: $1,137.00 

Photo credit: Getty

16. Kansas

Per capita income: $53,906

Credit card fraud per capita: 503.4

Identity theft per capita: 87.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,982.64

Average ID theft loss: $939.03 

Photo credit: Getty

15. New Hampshire

Per capita income: $70,303

Credit card fraud per capita: 563.8

Identity theft per capita: 101.3

Average credit card fraud loss: $3,567.32

Average ID theft loss: $933.30 

Photo credit: Getty

14. Idaho

Per capita income: $48,275

Credit card fraud per capita: 463.4

Identity theft per capita: 80.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,321.21

Average ID theft loss: $1,685.81 

Photo credit: Getty

13. Montana

Per capita income: $49,509

Credit card fraud per capita: 441.2

Identity theft per capita: 68.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $4,120.54

Average ID theft loss: $3,439.54 

Photo credit: Getty

12. West Virginia

Per capita income: $42,019

Credit card fraud per capita: 543.3

Identity theft per capita: 59.7

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,450.51

Average ID theft loss: $856.52 

Photo credit: Getty

11. Oklahoma

Per capita income: $48,568

Credit card fraud per capita: 518.7

Identity theft per capita: 85.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $6,696.69

Average ID theft loss: $1,128.36 

Photo credit: Getty

10. Hawaii

Per capita income: $73,486

Credit card fraud per capita: 403.8

Identity theft per capita: 55.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,722.27

Average ID theft loss: $1,884.41 

Photo credit: Getty

9. Louisiana

Per capita income: $45,727

Credit card fraud per capita: 701.9

Identity theft per capita: 69.7

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,551.59

Average ID theft loss: $826.73 

Photo credit: Getty

8. Wisconsin

Per capita income: $55,638

Credit card fraud per capita: 465.9

Identity theft per capita: 87.5

Average credit card fraud loss: $11,185.33

Average ID theft loss: $753.14 

Photo credit: Getty

7. Nebraska

Per capita income: $54,996

Credit card fraud per capita: 411.9

Identity theft per capita: 83.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $4,287.75

Average ID theft loss: $1,151.07 

Photo credit: Getty

6. Arkansas

Per capita income: $41,995

Credit card fraud per capita: 519

Identity theft per capita: 77.2

Average credit card fraud loss: $820.47

Average ID theft loss: $2,023.29 

Photo credit: Getty

4. North Dakota

Per capita income: $60,557

Credit card fraud per capita: 284.7

Identity theft per capita: 61.3

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,876.56

Average ID theft loss: $4,533.36 

Photo credit: AOL

3. Wyoming

Per capita income: $60,214

Credit card fraud per capita: 416.2

Identity theft per capita: 74.6

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,716.68

Average ID theft loss: $346.39 

Photo credit: Getty

2. South Dakota

Per capita income: $53,017

Credit card fraud per capita: 320.6

Identity theft per capita: 58.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $1,576.58

Average ID theft loss: $264.43 

Photo credit: Getty

1. Iowa

Per capita income: $54,736

Credit card fraud per capita: 342.5

Identity theft per capita: 68.1

Average credit card fraud loss: $2,235.52

Average ID theft loss: $818.54 

Photo credit: Getty



SEE ALSO: A former con man explains the 3-step process he uses to protect himself against identity theft 

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