It goes without saying that you want to avoid living in a city that is well-known for violent crime. You probably also don’t want to live in an area where property crimes are on the rise. Yet, one type of crime that few people consider when choosing a place to live is identity theft.

Though often deemed a mere headache, identity theft can have long-term financial and emotional impacts on its victims. Though plenty of identity theft occurs online — and thus can be thwarted with appropriate identity theft protection — some identity thieves operate in the real world, where they can dredge through trash to find sensitive documents or stalk victims’ homes to gain personal details.

If you want to avoid becoming a victim of identity-related crime, you should avoid moving to any of the following places where identity theft is high and continuing to rise.


Miami and surrounding suburbs are by any metric the worst place to live in the U.S. for identity theft. There are a few different reasons for this. In recent years, southern Florida has seen a rapid rise in population, which means there are more opportunities for identity thieves to pilfer personal details and commit fraud. What’s more, many of the urban gangs of southern Florida have integrated identity thieving into their criminal activities as the crime proves so lucrative.

Residents of Miami as well as anyone living in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties should be especially careful to shred unwanted documents with sensitive information, send outgoing mail from locked mailboxes and lock important documents in safety deposit boxes or bolted-down home safes.

Atlanta and Savannah

Another major Southeastern U.S. metropolis, Atlanta ranks second in the country for its high rate of identity theft, and Savannah, Georgia is not far behind. Like Miami, Atlanta and Savannah have large and growing populations, and many residents are not well-educated on potential sources of fraud, which can include both online and offline scams. Worse, the state of Georgia has few policies in place to assist victims of identity theft, either in recovering lost funds or identifying their attackers. Though penalties for known identity thieves are steep — between one and ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000 — few victims of identity theft in the state ever see true justice.


Following the major cities in Georgia, Houston, Texas is another less-than-ideal destination for those looking to avoid identity theft. Yet, while the lower and middle classes may be the most common targets for identity thieves in other Southeastern U.S. cities, it is the affluent neighborhoods of Houston that are more likely to be victimized by identity thieves. Here, mail theft is on the rise, which means it is even more important for residents of Houston to invest in lockable mailboxes and to send outgoing letters using post office boxes.

Las Vegas

There was a time when all types of crime ran rampant in Sin City, but these days, Las Vegas has largely cleaned up its streets. Still, identity theft remains relatively common, and that is largely due to the ease with which identity thieves can practice in the city. Tourists can be easy targets, especially when they are intoxicated or otherwise distracted by the delights in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Thieves will pickpocket wallets and passports, which often contain all they need to access bank accounts and commit fraud in other ways. Anyone planning on traveling to Las Vegas should store their passport in their hotel room safe and alongside important payment card numbers in case they need to cancel their credit and debit cards fast.


Though Philadelphia has a longstanding history as a city filled with brotherly love, there is no affinity between the many victims of identity theft and the criminals perpetuating this dreadful crime. The reasons behind the rise in identity theft in Philadelphia are largely the same as anywhere else: rising population and rising poverty results in both rising opportunity and rising incentive to commit the crime.

More than in other states, residents of Philadelphia tend to have their driver’s license pilfered and copied, and tax-related scams are also more prevalent here. If a driver’s license goes missing, a Philadelphia resident should act fast to notify the city and acquire a new one to prevent lasting damage to their identity.

The victims of crime always suffer, even if that crime does not leave a lasting mark on a victim’s physical body. Knowing whether or not you live in a hotspot for identity theft can help you behave in ways that will keep your personal information safe.

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