This time of year, as we're doing a lot of online shopping, New Jerseyans are most vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.

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Personal finance website WalletHub looked at all 50 states and Washington D.C. across 14 different metrics to come up with its findings for its report on 2020's States Most Vulnerable to Identity Theft and Fraud. That data set ranged from identity theft complaints per capita to the average loss due to fraud.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez said New Jersey is the fifth most vulnerable state to identity theft and fraud. She said New Jersey needs tighter laws and harsher penalties for e-commerce attacks, fraud and identity theft.

She said New Jersey could also benefit from legislation letting parents or legal guardians freeze minors' credit reports, and cited increasing identity theft of minors. Some states have identity theft "passport" programs to prevent their arrest for crimes committed in their names, or to aid in the investigation of fraudulent charges, but New Jersey is lacking such a program, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said New Jersey does better when it comes to fraud — using someone's info to make a fraudulent purchase — than identity theft. For that, New Jersey ranks 23rd.

"I think that once that (New Jersey's policies get) shored up, things like laws addressing phishing scams and spyware, we'll see identity theft start to be mitigated as well," she added.

Florida is the most vulnerable state for identity theft and fraud, according to the report. South Carolina is second followed by Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey. It says Wyoming is the least vulnerable, followed by Michigan, Kansas, Idaho and Kentucky.

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