South Florida is the nation’s epicenter for cases of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission ranked Florida as the top state for ID theft, with over 200,000 fraud complaints a year. Of all its regions, South Florida has the highest concentration of consumer complaints of any other region: in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area, there are as many as 316 complaints per 100,000 people a year.
What makes Florida so attractive to scammers and thieves? The Sunshine State is particularly appealing due to its lack of state income tax, its high population of senior citizens and transients, and its fast development, which attracts a lot of new money. If you live in South Florida, you should be aware of the top 3 types of identity theft and know that there are hundreds of consumer protection laws to protect your personal information, enforced by federal agencies and consumer protection attorneys.
Social Security Identity Theft
Your social security number is highly sensitive information that thieves can use to commit many types of fraud. They can open financial accounts in your name, receive medical care (and tainting your medical records), steal social security benefits you’ve worked for all your life, and even file for a fraudulent tax return before you do your taxes. In addition, if the thief gets caught committing a crime and gives your social security number up as his own, you can get entwined with the criminal justice system.
Medical Identity Theft
Medical ID theft is one of the most common types of ID theft in Florida. Thieves use your medical records to file false claims such as workers compensation claims. They can also undergo surgeries in your name or receive treatment for medical issues that are then billed to you.
Financial Identity Theft
When people think of “identity theft” this is the type that usually comes to mind. When a criminal uses your identity for financial reasons, the goal is to take all your funds and assets. Thieves can use your financial information to apply for loans or credit cards under your name and accumulate hefty debts.
Certain laws like the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, or FACTA, contain specific provisions aimed at curtailing this type of criminal activity. Under FACTA, only the last 5 digits of your credit or debit card can be printed on a paper receipt, and zero digits of your expiration date are allowed. This makes it harder for a potential thief to get their hands on your sensitive data. In addition, consumer reporting agencies are required to place a fraud alert on your file for at least 90 days if you suspect fraud at any time. If your bank offers some kind of fraud protection, take advantage of that.
If you have had your credit card information exposed from an electronic point of sale device, you may be able to win a significant reward with the help of Florida consumer protection attorneys. Jibrael S. Hindi and his team specialize in FACTA violations in Fort Lauderdale. Each FACTA violation may be worth up to $1,000. Call The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi at 844-JIBRAEL for a free consultation.