|December 15, 2004
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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MIAMI – Attorney General Charlie Crist today hosted Florida's first Identity Theft Summit. The event, held in Miami, brought together experts from local, state and federal government, as well as bankers and retailers from the private sector.
Throughout the day, the scope of the growing problem of identity theft was mixed with discussions on strategies for prevention as well as on legislation, both current and proposed, to punish perpetrators while creating a deterrent to prospective thieves. For instance, the Federal Trade Commission reveals that more than 14,000 Floridians reported identity theft in 2003. On November 24, a Georgia woman was arrested and charged with stealing $2.5 million from a Florida woman through identity theft in the Orlando area.
"Identity theft affects individuals both financially and emotionally," said Crist. "Today's summit revealed the types of individuals who commit this crime, how they do it, and the wreckage they leave behind. Government and the private sector must work together to thwart them. I am grateful that we were able to increase the penalties for this crime in Florida last year and we are beginning to see results."
In addition to the Attorney General, presenters included FDLE Commissioner Guy Tunnell, Statewide Prosecutor Peter Williams, the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Postal Service inspectors, the Florida Retail Federation, Citigroup, Microsoft, eBay/PayPal and many others. Tampa resident Jan Nye told her story as a victim of identity theft.
The FTC has reported that 42 percent of fraud claims involve identity theft. Of those reports, 36 percent involve credit cards and 18 percent involve debit cards. A total of 70 percent of identity theft complainants were between the ages of 18-49. Among the victims responding to this survey, 60 percent did not notify any police department.