The state of Florida has faced a large number of high-profile fraud cases in recent years. One of the reasons for that is that there are many people wanting to tap into the massive flow of money from benefit programs. A lot of the same people are engaging in other white collar crime cases, such as identity theft.
One use of identity theft that has been employed by some people in Florida involves getting other people’s tax refunds. If they can get enough personally identifying information about someone, they may be able to collect that person’s income tax refund and deposit it in their own account. With tax season underway in preparation for April’s filing deadlines, authorities are worried that this problem will increase.
Statistics back up that concern. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Miami chief, identity theft in South Florida is a huge problem. In 2012, the area had 645 complaints about it per every hundred people. That was the highest rate of anywhere in the country and was double the 2011 rate, which was 324 identity theft complaints for every 100,000 people.
The FBI is working in concert with both federal and state authorities to deal with the problem. They view it as a top priority, and list Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties as particularly rich targets for those seeking to profit from others’ information. Information gets stolen from anywhere databases are kept, from schools to hospitals.
Identity theft is a serious crime. As it grows in Florida, so will the efforts of authorities to stop it. Anyone accused of identity theft or any other white collar crime may benefit from sound legal advice from an attorney with experience in this area.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “FBI: ID theft a ‘huge problem’ in South Florida” Linda Trischitta, Feb. 17, 2014