Home > Identity Theft > The Top States for Credit Card Fraud

Comments 1 Comment

Credit Card Fraud on the Rise in Northeast, SouthwestIdentity theft has become a major problem in the U.S. that many financial institutions and government agencies are striving to prevent, and it seems that one type in particular has grown rather popular in the northeastern part of the country.

Payment card fraud — including identity theft on debit and credit accounts — is on the rise in 20 states nationwide, a large number of which are in the Northeast, located along the eastern seaboard, and in the Southwest, according to new data from the credit scoring firm FICO. For instance, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Vermont, and Pennsylvania all saw increases in instances of this type of crime last year. Other jumps were observed in Virginia and North Carolina, as well as Texas, Arizona and Nevada.

[Credit Check Tool: Monitor your credit score and activity for free with Credit.com]

However, it should be noted that another 20 states also saw rates of fraud decline, and that included California, New Jersey, Illinois, and Connecticut, among others, the report said. The remaining 10 saw relatively no change in their fraud rates, including Florida.

Free Credit Check & MonitoringFlorida and California also had some of the greatest instances of debit card fraud, largely through skimming incidents at merchant point-of-sale card readers, bank ATMs, and privately owned ATMs, the report said. Michigan also saw a relatively large number of these problems. In all, skimming at bank-run ATMs accounted for 46 percent of all such crimes reported nationwide, with another 36 percent coming from retailers’ machines, and the remaining 18 from other ATM devices. Overall, though, the number of these incidents was down from 2011, when 79 percent of all skimming was done using POS terminals.

That change indicates that criminals may be growing more savvy about how they approach this type of fraud, and are targeting other types of devices that consumers may be more apt to trust than a card reader at a retailer of any kind, the report said. Further, it is also difficult to predict exactly where this type of fraud will take place, because in 2011, ATM skimming scams were extremely common in the Pacific Northwest, and only a few such incidents were reported in Washington last year.

[Featured Products: Research and compare Identity theft protection plans at Credit.com]

Consumers should keep close tabs on their bank accounts and credit cards to identify any potential signs of fraud before they become a significant problem or cannot be remediated by the financial institutions controlling those accounts.

Image: iStockphoto

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team