NEW HAVEN -- Connecticut consumers need to do a better job of keeping a close eye on their personal information. That's according to a recent study by financial website Wallet Hub. The study suggests Connecticut is among five states most susceptible to identity theft and fraud.
This is the time of year when consumers typically make their most purchases, which, in turn, creates the most opportunity, according to a University of New Haven professor.
"This year, unlike many other years, we are seeing even more online purchases," said Jibey Asthappan, an Associate Professor in national security and criminal justice at UNH.
That’s not great news for Connecticut, which, according to a Wallet Hub study, ranks first in the nation in identity theft.
"There could be two things going on," said Asthappan. "One is that we're reporting it more. So, maybe that's why we’re seeing a higher number."
He adds that Connecticut's different demographics are also a factor.
"We're generally dealing with wealthier. We're also dealing with an older generation. We also have an infrastructure that's older too." He means that older businesses in the state might not have caught up to the technological demands to keep consumers personal info as safe as necessary.
"Not surprising," said Meaghan Baye of Milford when told about the study results. But, she admits, she probably doesn't adhere to one of the most important requirements to preventing identity theft: changing email passwords frequently.
"Every once in a while, you'll get a warning like that Yahoo warning," she said, noting that’s typically when she does it.
Diligence with passwords is important especially for consumers like her.
"Oh yeah, I hate shopping. I hate going into the stores. So, I do everything online," Baye says.
But, Asthappan says before you type in that credit card information "the first thing you want to look at is that URL and you want to make sure it says HTTPS."
In some browsers, there will even be a lock symbol, which means the site is encrypted.
According to the Wallet Hub study, Connecticut ranks 10th overall when combining instances of identity theft with consumer fraud.