1/3 of Floridians fall victim to identity theft
An AAA Consumer Pulse report reveals about one in three Floridians fell victim to identity theft in the past two years.
Jack Dare, a Punta Gorda resident, is one of them. He said a stranger once got into his bank account and still has no idea how or who did it.
“I scanned my card, next thing I know, $400 was being taken out of my account from Fort Worth, Texas,” Dare said.
AAA reports fraudulent credit card use, ATM withdrawals and tax refund theft are the top three crimes identity thieves commit.
To catch these criminals, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Sgt. Dianne Young said she “follows the money trail” from her computer.
“Really, we’re looking for where did that money go to, or where did the product go to,” Sgt. Young said. “If it was an online purchase of an item, we go where that item was shipped to.”
Sgt. Young told us Floridians are often easier and wealthier targets, and that’s why 31 percent of them are recent identity theft victims.
“We are a big retirement state. We have a ton of people who come from other areas, and they come to Florida either full-time or part-time. So when you think about it, they are getting retirement benefits, they have an income,” Sgt. Young said.
To avoid identity theft, young recommends constantly checking your bank statements and never giving your information over the phone.
This is the full release from AAA:
NEARLY ONE IN THREE FLORIDIANS AFFECTED BY IDENTITY THEFT
AAA urges immediate steps to secure your personal information
TAMPA, Fla. (October 11, 2017) – In the wake of several high-profile data breaches, consumers are concerned about the possibility of their personal and financial information landing in the wrong hands. Nearly one in three Floridians (31%) have been the victim of identity theft or fraud in the past two years, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey. The most popular crimes committed by identity thieves include fraudulent credit card use, ATM withdrawals, and tax refund theft. In 2016, $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million identity fraud victims in the U.S. (Javelin Strategy & Research, 2016 Identity Fraud Study).
AAA Consumer Pulse™ Identity Theft Study
Identity theft is taking its toll on consumers. AAA found that the majority of Floridians share concerns about becoming victims of identity theft (35% very concerned, 55% somewhat concerned). These concerns have lead to low levels of trust in institutions we provide our personal information to on a frequent basis. Nearly half of (47%) Floridians have low levels of trust that gas stations would keep their information secure. One in four consumers have low trust that ATMs (24%) can keep banking information out of the hands of identity thieves. When asked about shopping, one in five (20%) Floridians have a low levels of trust that online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores (18%) would keep their identity secure.
While over half (58%) of Floridians said they only have chip-based credit cards, a majority of shoppers (78%) reported they had shopped at stores in the past 3 months that did not have an activated or working chip card reader.
Additional findings from the report showed that Floridians are taking steps to prevent identity theft:
- Monitor bank accounts/credit card transactions (76%)
- Receive email alerts on suspicious transactions (62%)
- Check credit score (50%)
Of the 31% that had been affected by identity fraud, they also took steps to prevent identity fraud from happening again in the future:
- Self-monitoring of credit/accounts (55%)
- Froze or cancelled specific cards/accounts (51%)
- Enrolled in credit monitoring system (32%)
“Every two minutes another consumer becomes a victim of identity fraud, “ said Josh Carrasco, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “It is vital for consumers to take steps now to keep their financial and personal information secure. One way to prevent identity theft is to sign up for a credit monitoring service. AAA members can sign up for ProtectMyID free of charge.”
AAA Tips To Prevent Identity Theft
- Sign up for a credit monitoring service. AAA members receive essential ProtectMyID coverage – a $79 value – for free. Included in this member benefit are daily credit monitoring, email alerts, fraud resolution support, identity theft insurance, and lost wallet assistance. Go toAAA.com/IdentityTheft for more information.
- Review your credit card statement, bank account, and credit report regularly. Be on the lookout for any unauthorized transactions and report them immediately.
- Do not respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (this includes your name, birthdate, social security number and bank account number) over the phone, by mail, or online.
- Securely store your debit, credit and medical card information. Select PIN numbers that are easy for you to remember and don’t let anyone else see the number when you are entering it. Do not carry any record of your PIN number in your wallet. Shred credit card statements, receipts, or any medical records containing sensitive information before disposing of them. Also, ensure your credit cards and debit have been updated to include EMV or “chip” technology.
About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Florida from September 28, 2016 – October 6, 2016. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. Survey results have a margin of error of ± 4.9 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida. Click here to read the complete survey.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.4 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57.7 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.