You may be someone who actively monitors their credit reports and practices good financial habits, but did you know that even something as simple as where you live can affect your finances? It’s true!
A 2022 study run by the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that credit card fraud is on the rise, affecting an average of 13.5 per 10,000 residents and causing their credit scores to decrease suddenly. What’s even more alarming is that the study found specific cities were hotbeds of fraud, sometimes getting as high as four times the national average!
So if you live in one of these cities and wondering why your credit score has dropped, you may want to check and see if you’ve been a victim of fraud.
How the top cities were determined
To find and rank the top areas in the US for credit card fraud, analysts at Upgraded Points utilized data from the FTC and ranked the cities first by population size and then by per capita rates for every 10,000 residents.
The Top 5 large metros with high reports of credit card fraud
The state of Florida had the unfortunate ranking of #1 in the US for credit card fraud, so it’s no surprise that one of its major cities topped the list. The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area also ranked #1, receiving an average of 51.4 reports of fraud per 10,000 residents, nearly 4x the national average.
The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alphaetta region had the second-highest card fraud rate in the country, with 33.1 reports per 10,000 residents. While it’s not as high as Miami’s, this number is still higher than the national average of 13.5.
The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford region ranked #3 with an average of 31.4 reports of fraud per 10,000 residents.
Los Angeles, CA
Not all top cities were in the South. The Los Angeles metropolitan area clocked in at #4 with a rate of 28.7 per 10,000.
The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area ranked fifth with a rate of 26.2 per 10,000.
The top small-to-medium-sized metros with high rates of credit card fraud
Unfortunately, high rates of fraud touch towns all across the US and aren’t just relegated to the largest cities. Smaller towns have also become hotbeds of credit card fraud, sometimes beating the national average by staggering amounts.
Though its population is dwarfed by many other towns on this list, Tuscaloosa seems to be the primary area for credit card fraud reports in the U.S. In 2022, residents reported an average of 77.4 accounts of fraud per 10,000 residents.
Lafayette, LA, ranked #3 in the national list, receiving 41.9 reports of fraud per 10,000 residents.
Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge, LA, ranked #4 on the national list, receiving 40.4 reports of credit card fraud per 10,000 residents.
What to do if you’re a victim of credit card fraud
Credit card fraud is a serious issue. If you suspect that you have been a victim of credit card fraud, it is essential to take swift action.
First and foremost, take the time to contact your credit card company and report the fraud. Depending on the situation, the company may cancel your card and issue you one with a new number.
Next, check your credit report to ensure that all activity is accurate and that no unauthorized accounts have been opened in your name. If there are any discrepancies, contact the credit reporting agencies to make sure they are addressed. Additionally, be sure to monitor your credit score. This will alert you to any unusual activity on your credit report and allow you to address it quickly.
Lastly, if you can determine how the fraud occurred, consider taking preventative steps to better protect yourself in the future, such as enrolling in a credit monitoring service or setting up fraud alerts with the credit bureaus. Taking these steps can help protect your financial health and give you peace of mind.
The bottom line
Regardless of where you live, it’s crucial you understand that no one is immune to credit card fraud, and it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.