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Study finds Californians most vulnerable to identity theft, fraud

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Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller explains how to avoid becoming a victim of credit card thieves while fueling up.
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Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller explains how to avoid becoming a victim of credit card thieves while fueling up.

Californians are hurt more by identity theft and fraud than residents of any other state, according to a newly released WalletHub study.

Using data from the FBI, Federal Trade Commission, Internet Crime Complaint Center, Department of Homeland Security and National Conference of State Legislatures, WalletHub evaluated states based on criteria such as identity theft complaints per capita and average amount lost per theft. States’ policies to deter fraud and identity theft also contributed up to 5 percent to their overall scores.

California tied Rhode Island and Vermont for the most money lost to online identity theft per capita, 44 times the amount per person of those living in South Dakota, and finished third in average loss amount due to fraud. The Golden State was also fifth in identity theft complaints per capita, but tied for 10th in fraud and theft prevention policy.

The high average loss amounts could be related to the proportionally high incomes Californians earn. The state’s median household income was $64,500 in 2015, according to census data, good for ninth in the country.

Identity theft affects millions of people each year. You can learn how to make protecting yourself from identity thieves part of your daily routine.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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