Recent poll data reveals that large portions of the central and southern Florida community feel like the federal government is not doing a satisfactory job shielding citizens from identity thieves. In fact, a new poll published numbers saying that less than a third of Miami residents believe the feds are doing enough on the subject.
The facts point out that these poll results are not the outcome of irrational fears. Actually, Florida, and specifically the Miami area, is ground zero in an identity theft crime wave.
Law enforcement experts cite alarming statistics to demonstrate the prevalence of identity theft in our neck of the woods. Florida has the dubious honor of boasting the single highest rate of identity theft compared to all the other states of the union. On top of that, the complaints of identity theft in Miami are double the average than other localities statewide.
Tax Fraud is a Popular Method
As of now, tax return fraud leads the pack as the fastest growing type of fraud in the Miami area. Prominent examples appear in headlines, often including a cafeteria worker swiping the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for every single child in Broward County.
Law enforcement expert attribute the growth in part to drug traffickers and gun runners expanding their horizons. Often, career criminals see going after personal data as a way to supplement profits from other illegal activities. Plus, these endeavors come with less risk of apprehension, are less dangerous, and turn out to be more lucrative.
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What to do?
Those polled approve of a national data breach safety law. Consumers are looking for centralized accountability and alert systems where information is shared about all security breaches, instead of only when they themselves have been affected. A unified national standard is what is desired, according to respondents.
While Florida does have state law on the books, often data thieves do not respect state lines. A nationwide statute would bring consistency in the aftermath of a data heist.
Legislative wheels started to grind after the Target Corporation delayed warning its customers that security had been compromised. Those polled agreed that mandatory reporting timelines must be established compelling those who warehouse our personal data to promptly inform consumers when a crime happens.
For example, Florida law requires banks to notify customers within 45 days of a security failure. However, half of those polled see retailers as the real weak link in the chain. Financial institutions and credit card companies are sources of worry, according to the study, but consumer attitudes focus on the inability of national retailers to keep private information private.
Fraudwatchers are doubtful that legislatures will take action in the near future. Until they do there are often gaps in compulsory notifications, depending on the circumstances.
Don’t wait for legislators to protect your information and privacy. Be proactive if you fear you have been victimized by hackers, and please contact Fetterman and Associates and our team of experienced attorneys immediately at 561-845-2510 for a free legal consultation.