Identity Theft

Do you live in a high risk area for identity theft?

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Intersections, a company that sells credit monitoring programs, released a study today on the risk of iJacking in cities around the U.S. The term "iJacking" is being used by Intersections as a more dramatic way to describe identity theft that goes beyond basic credit card fraud. iJacking is also commonly used to describe the theft of a laptop directly from its owner’s hands.

The Intersections study was developed by Sperling’s BestPlaces. By evaluating 80 factors, including internet usage, incomes, banking practices, dining out frequency and methamphetamine rates, the study attempts to calculate identity theft risk. According to the report, the residents of the following cities have the highest risk of iJacking:

  1. San Francisco
  2. Seattle
  3. Denver
  4. San Jose
  5. San Diego
  6. Atlanta
  7. Salt Lake City
  8. Las Vegas
  9. Sacramento
  10. Phoenix

How accurate is this survey? It’s hard to tell. Since the study is predicting risk without using actual identity theft rates, it’s all pretty hypothetical. Actual FTC identity theft statistics from 2005 report that the following cities have the highest per capita rates of identity theft complaints:

  1. Phoenix
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Riverside
  4. Dallas
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Miami
  7. San Francisco
  8. Houston
  9. San Diego
  10. San Antonio

The two lists are pretty similar. Most of the cities are on the west coast and fit the same "high tech" demographic. They are also cities with some of the highest methamphetamine rates, something that has often been cited as leading to increased identity theft crimes.

Living in San Francisco, I don’t feel that I am at particularly higher risk for identity theft or iJacking than residents of other areas. But it does look like my identity might be safer living in Pittsburgh! What do you think? Share your feedback about this identity theft study in the comments section below.

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