If you didn’t already know, identity theft is a major problem. The Department of Justice estimates that over 17.5 million people are victims of one kind of identity theft or another every year. In 2014, the average monetary loss for victims was $1,343, though the total cost was almost $15.5 billion.
A large identity theft ring was recently busted in Florida. 104 people were arrested and credited with having stolen tens of thousands of identities at a cost of over $60 million. The types of identity theft varied, but they all involved some well-known identity theft techniques.
Credit card skimmers were used at gas pumps to steal credit card information. W2 information was stolen so fraudsters could file false tax returns and keep the money for themselves, a type of fraud that has been increasing every year and is, obviously, popular during tax season. Some people impersonated IRS agents, calling victims and getting them to pay money they were told was owed to the government.
Despite steep penalties, including ten years plus a two-year minimum prison sentence per crime, South Florida has become a sort of capital for identity theft. Over 600 people have been arrested for it in the last five years.