Virginia Is Now Above the National Average in Reported Identity Theft Crimes

Jul 11, 2018

Credit Marcie Casas / Creative Commons

Identity theft is on the rise in Virginia, which now has a rate of reported crimes higher than the national average.

In the past three years, identity theft complaints in Virginia have increased 26 percent. That’s according to numbers compiled by the Federal Trade Commission, which show Virginia is now above the national average for identity theft. Legal expert Rich Kelsey says the Old Dominion is attractive because it has some of the richest counties in the country

“Virginia is also an internet hub, and it has online consumers using their credit cards and putting their data and financial information out there. So they make for a larger more ripe target.”

Eva Velasquez at the Identity Theft Resource Center says the numbers are an important indication of a problem. But they might also show that Virginia is doing a better job tracking complaints.

“California, Florida and Arizona, for a long time, were sort of shifting around in first place for the number of complaints. But there were more structures in place for that data to get to the Federal Trade Commission.”

Recent years have seen a decrease in some kinds of identity theft: employment and tax-related fraud. But they’ve also seen a steady increase in the most popular kind of identity theft: credit-card fraud.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.