New FL Identity Theft Threat May Drive You Mad!

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When it comes to the garden variety of fraud, including; credit, debit, mortgage, foreclosure, medicare, insurance, and an array of other fraudster and con-artist scams, the sunshine state consistently places near the top of worst states in the nation. It's no surprise to learn that  for two years now, the state ranks #1 for identity theft. Vacationers and locals aren't the only ones who love Florida's warm winter weather, sandy beaches and easy living lifestyle --fraudsters seem to favor residing and working here too. 

According to a recent Sun Sentinel report, in the first half of this year, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 20,000 "reported" complaints from Floridians whose identities had been stolen -- nearly as many as in all of 2010.

When your state leads the nation in fraud, (of any sort) one would think the state's local and state officials would be leading the charge against it. Doing whatever is necessary in order to protect their citizens from prowling criminals out to find easy access into our lives. But sorry to say, that doesn't appear to be the case in Florida. 

Not too long ago I blogged about a  number of Florida cities that seemed to be putting their employees at risk for identity theft by publishing their personally identifying info in online databases. And if that risky business is surprising news to you --this latest news will probably catch you off guard and leave you shaking your head too. Apparently, there's a boatload of east to access data just waiting for professional id thieves to access and use or sell to others across the country. The FL Department of Motor Vehicles uses a system to generate state drivers license numbers --and apparently, it's not so secure. Thieves have found it very easy to get access to the system and our drivers license numbers --legally.   
WTSB Tampa News 10 investigators found an easy computer program that allows anyone to plug in your name and your birth date and poof: there's your 11-digit drivers license number. (see video below)

To give you an idea of how dangerous this can be, stop and think about all of the places where people use their names and birthdates.  All it would take is someone sharing a little bit too much on Facebook or other social networking sites without proper security settings to give snooping identity thieves all of the information they need.  A birthday announcement in the paper or on a personal blog could give away the same information.  Not to mention identity manipulation, data breaches or unauthorized file access at your local hospital, doctor's office and other locations by individuals in positions of trust who can easily provide identity thieves with all of this information and more.

If you live in Florida, you live in a state that has beautiful sandy beaches, warm winters and lots of sunshine -making the state an attractive magnet for all sorts of fraudsters on the move. Unless state agencies and elected officials begin to take the threat of identity theft seriously and make protecting our data a #1 priority, Florida will continue to rank #1 in the nation for fraud.

Floridian's should write or call their state representatives and voice their concerns. It's your identity, so don't be afraid to use your voice AND your vote -to keep it safe.

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