The findings were released Feb. 14 by the San Diego-based company, which helps its clients spot the possibility of identity theft and determine the next best steps to verify an identity. The research covered only actual and attempted frauds rather than consumer victim reports.
The states with the lowest rates of ID fraud are Wyoming, Vermont and Montana, the study said.
"Its significant that these are the first publicly available, statistically valid research findings based on actual data about frauds," Stephen Coggeshall, ID Analytics chief technology officer and author of the report, said in a statement. "Previous research from other sources has had to rely on consumer victim reports, which are, by their nature, incomplete."
Researchers found New York, Detroit and Los Angeles to be the top metropolitan areas for identity thieves. The much smaller Little Rock, Ark., metropolitan area was fourth.
"This new data from ID Analytics is in line with what weve heard from the victims themselves and from law enforcement," Jay Foley, executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center, also in San Diego, said in a statement. "Its our hope that businesses will use this new research to further bolster their efforts in the fight against identity fraud and that consumers living in these areas will be especially vigilant in protecting themselves."
Thieves also appear to be more interested in using personal information to fabricate identities rather than to assume them. According to ID Analytics findings, identity theft that victimizes a specific consumer accounts for 10 to15 percent of all identity fraud, while synthetic identity fraud—criminals using identities fabricated from real and false data—accounts for 85 to 90 percent of all identity fraud.
"Whats most meaningful about these findings is that they can help identify specific areas where identity criminals may be operating in an organized manner. Weve actually analyzed the data down to the five-digit ZIP code level, which gives precise visibility into concentrations of identity fraud, which may indicate fraud rings or some other criminal activity," Coggeshall said.
Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.