Florida Still the Eye of the Storm for Tax Identity Fraud
Florida has been named one of the top states in the nation in the recent tax identity fraud tsunami. The IRS has found fraud tax forms from every state except North Dakota and West Virginia within the past two years. From 2013 to 2018, this massive, dangerous and illegal occupation is projected to cost the government over $21 billion, according to the growing trend.
Florida is known as the center of fraudulent activity in the US with Miami and Tampa at the top of the list. The logical reason Florida is more susceptible to fraud is the high number of older residents, who are especially vulnerable. Miami reports 46 times the national rate of illegal tax refund claims, and they have also been struggling with overwhelming Medicare fraud.
According to the Treasury, tax identity fraud has increased dramatically from 48,000 in 2008, to more than 1.2 million cases countrywide in 2012. The popularity is rising apparently because tax fraudsters find this type of fraud easy to execute.
Congresswoman Kathy Castor commented on a police raid in an East Tampa Howard Johnsons. Agents raided the hotel room and found the criminals with laptops, smoking marijuana. The only information that the fraudsters really need is a name and tax id number.
The criminals obtain the identities in various methods. They will bribe office workers for personnel files, and they will steal hospital and school information. In Miami, fraudsters went so low as to use Holocaust victims’ identities. A man named Rodney St. Fleur hacked into his own law firm with his LexisNexis account and stole 26,000 identities.
The good news is that the fraudsters can be caught. In December, a U.S. Marine stole the identities of 40 fellow Marines and was sentenced to five years in prison. Though there are cases of favorable outcomes, this is something that has to be closely examined for years to become because of the trend moving in a dangerous direction. Fraud attorneys in Orlando and other areas of the Florida could have their hands full as more fraudsters are caught due to increasing security measures.