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Near the beginning of the pandemic, coronavirus-related scams increased, and common scams included robocalls and fraudulent online vendors claiming to sell in-demand goods such as hand sanitizers and masks.
A major consequence for victims of these scams is money loss and identity theft, which has been on the rise for the past few years. According to an analysis conducted by Construction Coverage, South Carolina was rated ninth in the country for most identity theft reports in the U.S. for loan and lease fraud, with neighboring states Georgia rated first and North Carolina rated 14th for loan and lease fraud.
The analysis showed that South Carolina recorded 10,851 identity theft reports in 2019. For every 100,000 residents, there were 213 identity theft reports in the state. The year-over-year change in identity theft reports was 71.2%.
In the city of Sumter, there were 15 identity theft cases reported in 2019, said Tonyia McGirt, public information officer for the Sumter Police Department. Since May 31, there have been five cases reported.
The Sumter County Sheriff's Office has seen two cases reported so far this year, according to Deputy Adrienne Sarvis, public information officer for the sheriff's office. Last year, the county had a total of 12 cases reported.
Georgia leads the nation for identity theft reports with about 427 identity theft reports per 100,000 people and a total of almost 45,000 identity theft reports for 2019, according to Construction Coverage. All of the top 15 states experienced an increase in identity theft reports from 2018 to 2019 with an average increase of about 58%.
Credit card fraud and loan or lease fraud were the most common forms of identity theft for states on the list, Construction Coverage said.
The analysis also showed that while people of all ages are at risk for identity theft, the FTC received the most identity theft reports for Americans aged 30-39. The ITRC said millennials are more willing to share their personal data online and are less fearful of their information being compromised than other age groups.
While other ages are also at high risk, there's a possibility that many cases of identity theft can go unreported or unnoticed.
View the study online
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