By: Kat Casna | October 1, 2019

In the first half of 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 21,000 reports of scammers posing as Medicare and other health officials.1 But that’s just a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to scams nationwide. The FTC reports nearly 1.5 million counts of fraud, identity theft, and similar crimes.2

Many of these crimes target older adults. When they succeed, older adults lose an average of $34,200, compared to an average of $16,700 among all ages.3 But no matter your age, where you live could factor into your risk of being targeted. To help our readers fend off more than just Medicare scams, we looked at where fraud occurs the most.

Methodology

Our team studied data from the Federal Trade Commission covering reports of fraud, identity theft, and related crimes from the last five years.4 The data included the top 25 cities with the most fraud each year. We matched those cities with their states and created a map showing the states with the most mentioned cities.

Correlations & Key Findings

  • Florida is a hot-spot for fraud. The Sunshine State dominates the list with additional cities such as Tampa, Miami, Cape Coral, and Jacksonville.
  • Homosassa Springs, Florida has topped the list in first or second place for five years straight. Detroit, Michigan dethroned Homosassa Springs in 2015.
  • Texas has had significant fraud as well, with Dallas, Waco, Wichita Falls, and Sherman making several appearances.
  • A handful of California cities (such as San Francisco, Sacramento, and Stockton) made the top 25, but the Golden State seems to have cleaned up its act in 2017 and 2018.
  • Meanwhile, fraud in South Carolina and Arizona may be on the rise with more cities appearing on the top 25 list in recent years.
  • Washington, Wyoming, Montana, and Illinois almost dodged spots on the list. Each had just one city crack the top 25 in the last five years.

States with the most cities on the top 25 list for fraud

20142015201620172018
1Homosassa Springs, FLDetroit-Warren-Dearborn, MIHomosassa Springs, FLHomosassa Springs, FLHomosassa Springs, FL
2Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLHomosassa Springs, FL
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GASanta Fe, NM
3Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MIAtlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GAAtlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GATampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLJackson, MI
4Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TXCape Coral-Fort Myers, FLCape Coral-Fort Myers, FLOcala, FLAtlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
5Miami-Fort Lauderdale- West Palm Beach, FLDallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TXDallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TXGainesville, FLJacksonville, FL
6Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GATampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLTampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLMontgomery, ALPrescott, AZ
7Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FLGainesville, FLGainesville, FLDallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TXLas Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
8Stockton-Lodi, CAMiami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FLWaco, TXDetroit-Warren-Dearborn, MIColumbia, SC
9Sacramento-Roseville, Arden-Arcade, CAWaco, TXMiami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FLPrescott, AZMissoula, MT
10Ocala, FLOcala, FLOcala, FLCape Coral-Fort Myers, FLCharlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC
11San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
Stockton-Lodi, CA
Montgomery, ALMiami-Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, FLPalm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
12Gainesville, FLSacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CASacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CAJacksonville, FLDeltona-Daytona-Ormond Beach, FL
13Jacksonville, FLMontgomery, AL
Stockton-Lodi, CA

Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL
Gainesville, FL
14Waco, TXSan Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CASherman-Denison, TXMacon-Bibb County, GATampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
15Balitmore-Columbia-Towson, MDDeltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLWichita Falls, TXColumbia, SCMiami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
16Richmond, VAMacon-Bibb County, GAMobile, ALSanta Fe, NMCarbondale-Marion, IL
17Redding, CAJacksonville, FLSaginaw, MICharlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SCMacon-Bibb County, GA
18Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WVOrlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLJacksonville, FLMobile, ALColumbus, GA
19Bellingham, WALongview, TXLongview, TXLongview, TXLake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
20Montgomery, ALSaginaw, MISanta Fe, NMMemphis, TN-MS-ARMyrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC
21Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLAnniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, ALMemphis, TN-MS-ARWichita Falls, TXPort St. Lucie, FL
22Dothan, ALSherman-Denison, TXColumbia, SCLas Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NVOrlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
23Santa Fe, NMPunta Gorda, FLMacon-Bibb County, GAPunta Gorda, FLWashington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
24Las Vega-Henderson-Paradise, NVTexarkana, TX-ARSan Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CAOrlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLOcala, FL
25Cheyenne, WYPalm Bay-Melbourne, Titusville, FLDeltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLBaltimore-Columbia-Towson, MDSebastian-Vero Beach, FL

Conclusion

While not all scams target older adults, eight (50%) of the above states are in the top ten most popular states for retirees.5 If your state came up on our list, don’t worry. You won’t necessarily be targeted for a scam. But if you are, it helps to be prepared. Visit the FTC’s website for scam alerts. And don’t forget to check out our Medicare Scam Report for the latest Medicare-specific scams—and what to do to protect yourself.

Sources

1. Federal Trade Commission, “Explore Government Imposter Scams
2. Federal Trade Commission, “Data and Visualizations
3. CNBC, “Scams Cheat Older Americans Out of Almost $3 Billion a Years. Here’s What to Watch for
4. Federal Trade Commission, “Scams Near You, by the Numbers
5. SmartAsset, “Where Retirees Are Moving – 2019 Edition