|December 8, 2005
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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TAMPA - Attorney General Charlie Crist today brought together leaders in law enforcement, government, retail commerce, banking and other fields at Florida's second annual Identity Theft Summit to discuss the nation's fastest-growing crime.
Participants spent the day discussing the devastating effects of identity theft on its victim and worked on strategies to halt the spread of the crime. Speakers from both the public and private sectors offered ideas for preventing ID theft, which claims thousands of victims in Florida each year. Crist cited a new Florida law that cracks down on identity theft by imposing tougher penalties on those who fraudulently use another's person identifying information and requiring certain companies that experience identity-related security breaches to notify authorities.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft complaints from Florida victims jumped almost 14 percent last year, with the filing of 16,062 complaints from the state. Floridians lodged the sixth largest number of complaints among the states, with an 11 percent increase in the number of ID theft complaints per 100,000 residents. The state had three of the nation's top 25 metropolitan areas in reported ID theft complaints per 100,000 population in 2004, including Miami (#7), Orlando (#12) and Tampa-St. Petersburg (#25).
"Identity theft is a crime that literally turns its victims' lives upside-down by stealing their good name," said Crist. "Sadly, the holiday season creates countless opportunities for identity thieves to prey on consumers whose minds are on other matters. The ability to share information enables us to help prevent this insidious crime."
In addition to the Attorney General, presenters at the ID Theft Summit included Statewide Prosecutor Peter Williams and Victim Advocate Theresa Adlam; Cindy Liebes, assistant regional director for the Federal Trade Commission; Eric J. Ellman, Vice President and Counsel for State Government and Federal Regulatory Affairs with the Consumer Data Industry Association; Michael A. Libertore, Vice President for Loss Prevention for Macy's Florida; Thomas F. Kerr, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Bankers Association; and Detective Michael J. Fabozzi of the NYPD's Computer Investigation and Technology Unit.
Federal statistics show that credit card fraud accounts for almost one of every three identity theft complaints filed by Floridians. Other leading categories of ID theft reported by Floridians last year were frauds involving banking, utilities, employment and government benefits.
Those who believe they have been the victim of identity theft should call the Attorney General's Fraud Hotline toll-free at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226).