It seems that on a per capita basis, Florida leads the nation in identity theft.
And within Florida, Miami is head and shoulders above the rest of the state in terms of the sheer number of identity fraud complaints. Much of that stolen information is used to commit tax fraud. Isn’t it amazing (and appalling) how many people we all know in South Florida who have had fraudulent tax returns filed in their names (and refunds stolen)? They’re still sorting out the mess from last year’s tax season.
Of course, identity fraud happens throughout all 50 states, so you need to be vigilant wherever you are.
And since they can probably invent new scams faster than we can protect ourselves against them, here’s a free service you may want to consider.
AARP offers its Fraud Watch Network free of charge for everyone – members, non-members, and people of all ages. You can sign up by visiting the AARP fraud watch network site.
(OK-so if you’re too cool, maybe think about signing up your mom, the in-laws, your elderly neighbor. Don’t forget that you start losing financial street smarts as you age. Or have you already forgotten that? Bad sign.)
Here’s the AARP pitch for the site:
“Every year, thousands of Americans are impacted by fraud and scams – but you can beat con artists at their own game by joining the AARP Fraud Watch Network. When you sign up, you’ll get:
- The latest, breaking scam alerts, delivered right to your inbox
- Prevention tips based on thousands of hours of interviews with con artists and law enforcement
- Access to resources from our network of experts
- Access to a special network of people like you who are sharing their experiences with scams, so you know what to watch out for”
There’s also some clever quizzes to find out how savvy you really are, steps to take if you’re the victim of fraud, and lists of the latest scams in your state.