The Federal Trade Commission recently released the findings of a report regarding identity theft in the country and Louisiana ranked high on the list.

Of course, being near the top of this list is not a good thing. The state ranked fourth in identity thefts reported nationwide.

According to the findings, per 100,000 people, there were 732 reports of identity theft in Louisiana, totaling up to 34,000 reports altogether.

Nearly 400 metro areas across the country are part of the report, and Lafayette ranked fifth-worst. Per 100,000 people, there were 1,212 reports.

Internet crime and electronic banking security

Emily Thornton with the financial securities company IPX1031 says that the COVID-19 pandemic is the cause of the recent increase in identity theft.

"This data shows us that identity theft is on the rise, especially in most years," Thornton said.

“Louisiana saw a 77.25% increase in identity theft from 2020-2021 compared to 2017-2019,” added Thornton. “We know that this time of the year, people have already filed their taxes or tried to get all of their identity information together — whether they’re going to file on their own or file with an accountant.”

So, what can you do to prevent identity theft? The Better Business Bureau says to protect your Social Security number and do not freely give out any personal information.

Most importantly, the BBB says to be vigilant when giving out any information online or over the phone. Checking your credit report annually is a great way to see if you've been the victim of identity theft.

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