FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — According to a new study, credit card fraud has seen a sharp rise in the U.S. recently, and that includes in the Northwest Arkansas area.

UpgradedPoints.com, a website that specializes in helping consumers maximize their travel reward points, released the credit card fraud report this week. The study noted that Americans paid off credit card balances at a record pace and applied for credit less often during the height of the pandemic, but the need for credit cards has rebounded as inflation has risen over the past two years.

The number of credit card fraud cases reported has nearly tripled since 2018, and the report explained that the majority of that increase is due to application fraud. Reported cases of fraud involving new accounts have risen tenfold over less than two decades, from 1.4 reports per 10,000 residents in 2004 to 14 per 10,000 in 2022.

The report also listed the cities and metropolitan areas with the biggest increases. Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers were grouped together and included in the study’s “midsize metros” category, comprising areas with 350,000-999,999 residents. The area had almost 10 reports per 10,000 residents in 2022, placing it 33rd for its size. The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metro area ranked 37th, while two Louisiana cities, Lafayette and Baton Rouge, took the top two spots, with 42.9 and 40.4 reports per 10,000 people respectively.

The Northwest Arkansas area in the study saw a 79.5% year-over-year increase in credit card fraud reports in 2022, and a 306.6% rise from 2019-2022. For comparison, Lafeyette actually had a yearly decrease of 22.3% while its three-year rise checked in at almost 818%.

To determine the locations with the highest rates of credit card fraud, researchers at Upgraded Points analyzed the latest data from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2022 and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

The entire report is available here.