Florida Takes the Lead in Number of Fraud Complaints
For years, the state of Florida has been undefeated as the nation’s top state for fraud. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission recorded 3 million consumer complaints. The state took the lead for fraud and fourth place for identity theft. Of 1.4 million frauds reported to the FTC that year, 210,174 Florida consumers made complaints with losses of more than $84 million — a significant increase from 2017, when consumers reported $54.7 million losses.
Florida has been associated with fraud for several years. In previous years, senior citizens were a large portion of scammed consumers; however, an increasing number of consumers who have reported fraud are millennials. The most commonly-reported fraud in 2019 was debt collection, along with identity theft and imposter scams. Fake debt collectors made up 29% of fraud reports to the FTC.
Fraud is a pervasive problem that has cost the state’s economy billions of dollars over the years. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other state departments have taken serious measures to crack down on scams. If you’re facing a fraud charge, you need to hire a tough attorney who can push back against an overzealous prosecution.
What are common types of fraud in Florida?
People lose their identities and cash to all kinds of scams. In Florida, the average loss per person who filed a complaint in 2018 was $400. Fake debt collection scams were the most commonly reported scam that year, but other methods of fraud also have a strong presence in the Sunshine State.
Fake Debt Collection Scams
Debt is a severe financial problem for millions of Americans. Many people receive debt collection calls from a variety of companies, and it can be difficult to tell which company is legitimate and which is a scam.
Businesses hire third-party debt collectors to recover debt on past-due accounts, to the dread of many consumers. Although some collectors call about real debts, some scammers pose as collection agents to trick people into paying money for debts they have either paid off or canceled, or that may not exist. They might even threaten people with lawsuits and jail time to pressure them into sending them money.
Posing as a debt collector is a criminal offense that may result in severe penalties if you are convicted. The specific charge and possible penalties depend on the details of your case, which you should discuss with an Orlando fraud defense lawyer.
Credit Card Theft
Credit card theft is a type of identity theft in which a person steals another’s credit card information. They may do this by hacking wifi networks, using a credit card skimmer at a gas pump, or looking through the victim’s mail or trash. Other fraudulent uses of a credit card may include chargebacks, or when customers make a purchase using their credit cards and then claim they never did to get the purchases removed.
Credit card thieves may make one or two insignificant purchases to see if their actions go unnoticed after gaining a victim’s numbers. Then, if the victim doesn’t report the charges, they usually go for more expensive items. One of the most common ways people’s credit card information gets stolen in Florida is from credit card skimmers at gas pumps.
Is credit card fraud a misdemeanor or felony offense?
Credit card fraud may be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of the case and the value of the items that were purchased fraudulently. A misdemeanor credit card fraud carries the following potential penalties:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Up to 1 year of probation
- A fine of up to $1,000
A felony credit card fraud charge may occur when the card was used more than twice and purchases of more than $100 were made. This is a third-degree felony that may result in:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Up to 5 years of probation
- A fine of up to $5,000
Protect Your Reputation. Preserve Your Future. Contact The Umansky Law Firm
If you face a fraud-related charge in Orlando, you are probably anxious, upset, and unsure about what to do to make the most of a bad situation. At The Umansky Law Firm, our experienced criminal defense lawyers have helped thousands of people pull through what is often one of the darkest moments of their lives. The criminal process is complex and may be intimidating. We’re here to support you at this time so that you can fight for the best possible result.
Our lawyers firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Founder William D. Umansky is a former prosecutor who doesn’t think you should face lifelong consequences for a single mistake. We have board-certified lawyers on staff who may also help your case. Call our office at any time of day for a free consultation or complete our contact form.