A new report says that the five states with the largest number of identity theft offenders are Florida, California, Texas, New Jersey and Georgia.

The report, "The New Face of Identity Theft," by Utica College's Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP), states that more identity criminals, now almost 64 percent, were found to be operating as part of a group rather than by themselves; contrary to the 2007 study which found the majority of identity criminals acted alone. Similarly, technological devices used by offenders increased to now represent 62 percent of all identity theft cases in the study.

Almost identical to the 2007 study, this study found that the vast majority of identity thieves, 60 percent, target strangers. This lack of significant change over time indicates that stranger-based identity crime cases represent an unrelenting threat to the general public. Other common relationships between offenders and victims include customer/client and the financial services industry.

An emerging form of identity theft that showed prominence in the new study was the submission of false tax claims with the IRS using stolen ID information. Offenders used a number of approaches to commit these types of offenses, including stealing ID information from a variety of sources, including prisons and nursing homes.

"By taking a deeper look into the characteristics of each case, we were able to identify and measure the characteristics of identity thieves as well as high-risk circumstances in order to anticipate and combat criminal activity," said Donald Rebovich, Ph.D., professor of criminal justice and executive director of CIMIP.

Read more: https://www.utica.edu/academic/institutes/cimip/New_Face_of_Identity_Theft.pdf