Identity theft is a huge problem throughout the country, but fraudsters are especially active in Florida. Every year, Florida ranks high in reported identity theft cases, and hackers and thieves in the Sunshine State show no signs of slowing down. In fact, earlier in 2017, federal authorities arrested 104 individuals involved in an identity theft ring that stole over $60 million. These individuals also stole and exploited personal information from tens of thousands of Florida consumers. Sadly, this means that thousands of credit reports were damaged in this one rampage alone. Also, in this case, the identity thieves were caught. It’s scary to imagine how many fraudsters are still at large in Florida, stealing money, destroying credit reports, and ruining credit scores.
Why Florida is such a Big Target for Identity Theft
Unfortunately, identity thieves operate heavily in Florida largely because they love to prey on seniors. Of course, it’s common knowledge that a lot of American seniors move to Florida upon retirement. Why wouldn’t they? Florida is warm, sunny, and beautiful. It’s the perfect place to spend your Golden Years. So, it’s incredibly sad that so many Florida seniors become victims of identity theft.
Here are a few reasons why senior citizens are often targeted by fraudsters:
They have established credit histories.
Identity thieves looking to open fraudulent accounts covet Social Security numbers belonging to consumers who are good candidates for new credit.
They tend to trust their information to the wrong people.
It isn’t that Florida senior citizens lack scruples, but many of them came of age in more innocent times. So, the concept of not being able to trust an official-sounding voice over the phone seems strange. This why seniors sometimes give out their banking or credit card information to fraudsters posing as IRS agents, bank employees, or credit card issuers.
They have a limited understanding of technology.
You may know that no legitimate company asks for iTunes gift cards as payment, but your grandmother might not. Also, many seniors with computer access may not understand the differences between secured and unsafe websites.
They don’t always check their bank and credit card statements or credit reports.
Many Florida seniors may not realize that financial statements and credit reports are accessible online. This probably means that they aren’t checking them frequently. So, if they are victims of identity theft, it could take them a long time to catch the fraudulent activity.
How Florida Seniors Can Protect themselves against Identity Theft
It’s difficult to protect sensitive personal information 100% of the time, but there are measures that Florida seniors should take against identity theft. In fact, all Florida consumers, regardless of age should:
- Be mindful of information shared over the phone or through emails. Make sure that your banking account and credit card information and Social Security number are never given to untrustworthy individuals.
- Keep Social Security cards under lock and key unless needed for a specific purpose.
- Shred all documents and mail items that contain personal information. Simply tossing these items in the trash may leave your information vulnerable to identity thieves who double as dumpster divers.
- Take a good look at the card slots on ATMs and gas pumps. Fraudsters sometimes use devices called “skimmers” to commit identity theft. These devices look like card slots and are usually placed over the actual card slots. So, if anything seems strange about an ATM or gas pump card reader, don’t use it.
- Ask for help. If you receive an instruction from someone over the phone or through an email that seems suspicious, do some research before responding. Also, don’t hesitate to share your concerns with friends or family members.
- Check your bank and credit card statements and credit reports frequently. This is the best way to make sure that identity thieves aren’t opening fraudulent accounts in your name.
The Free and Legal Way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let errors or fraudulent accounts on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (555)555-5555 or sending him a message through our contact page.