Which States Have the Best & Worst Phishing Report Cards?

3 min read
November 24, 2023

Which States Have the Best & Worst Phishing Report Cards_HubSpot

The holiday season is upon us, and while it's a time of joy and celebration, it's also a prime season for scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. While there are a lot of ways scammers can target potential victims, one of the most common is through phishing. 

What Is Phishing?  

Phishing is a type of cyber attack where the scammer tricks their target into revealing sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, or financial details. This is often done through deceptive emails, messages, or websites that appear trustworthy but are actually designed to steal personal information. The goal of phishing is to gain unauthorized access to accounts, commit fraud, or engage in other malicious activities.  

Stay vigilant for unsolicited emails or texts claiming to be from reputable retailers, especially if they ask for sensitive information (like passwords or credit card details) or ask you to click on a link in their message. Legitimate businesses will never ask for this information via email or text. Never select a link that is texted, emailed, or sent to you via social media unless it’s expected or from a trusted source. 

While consumers all over the U.S. can be targeted by phishing, some areas of the nation are more affected than others. Currently, the state most affected by phishing scams is Nevada, followed by the District of Columbia and New Jersey. The state least affected by phishing scams is Kansas, followed by Mississippi and Iowa. While Utah ranks 20th overall (with 1st place representing the most affected state), the Beehive State also makes the list of the 10 states suffering the highest average losses in dollars due to phishing.1

Other Considerations

It's possible you may become a larger target for phishing the more time you spend shopping online. The more websites you visit and the more you subscribe to special offers with your email address or phone number, higher risk you take of inadvertently providing your information to bad actors posing as retailers. Here are some other tips to keep yourself safe as you shop online.

1. Shop Only on Secure Websites 

About one in every four consumers reports having been targeted by a scam while shopping online. Of those targeted, half report having fallen victim to a scam. The majority of these scams took place on social media and third-party websites.2 

Before making an online purchase, ensure the website's URL starts with "https" on both the homepage and payment page, and that a padlock icon appears in the address bar. This indicates a secure connection, protecting your information from potential hackers. Only shop with reputable merchants. Do research and check for reviews before buying from an unfamiliar retailer. 

2. Be Wary of Unrealistic Deals 

According to Norton, “One in three consumers say they sometimes spend more than they can afford on tech gifts” (phones, laptops, etc.).3 This comes as no surprise, seeing as electronics is one of the most expensive categories of Christmas gifts. So, when an amazing deal pops up on the screen, you’d better grab it while you can. Right? 

Think again. A good rule of thumb is that if a deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Be cautious with steep discounts and promotions. It might just be that a scammer is dangling a carrot in front of you. 

3. Check Your Account History Often 

Many victims of holiday shopping scams don't realize they've been targeted until weeks or even months later. Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. Report any discrepancies immediately to your financial institution to mitigate potential losses. 

4. Update Your Devices & Software 

Outdated software and devices are more susceptible to security vulnerabilities exploited by scammers. Regularly update your computer, smartphone, and other devices with the latest security patches. This helps protect your personal information from potential cyber threats. 


By staying informed and adopting these practices, you can safeguard your finances and enjoy a worry-free holiday shopping experience. Remember, a little precaution goes a long way in protecting yourself from the grinches lurking in the digital shadows. Happy and secure shopping! 

1 Forbes Advisor's Phishing Statistics By State In 2023.

2, 3 Norton's 2023 Cyber Safety Insights Report (November 2023)