TAMPA – LAWFUEL- The Law News Network – Attorney General Charl…

TAMPA – LAWFUEL- The Law News Network – Attorney General Charlie Crist today brought together leaders
in law enforcement, government, retail commerce, banking and other fields
at Florida?s second annual Identity Theft Summit to discuss the nation?s
fastest-growing crime.

Participants spent the day discussing the devastating effects of
identity theft on its victim and worked on strategies to halt the spread of
the crime. Speakers from both the public and private sectors offered ideas
for preventing ID theft, which claims thousands of victims in Florida each
year. Crist cited a new Florida law that cracks down on identity theft by
imposing tougher penalties on those who fraudulently use another?s person
identifying information and requiring certain companies that experience
identity-related security breaches to notify authorities.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft complaints
from Florida victims jumped almost 14 percent last year, with the filing of
16,062 complaints from the state. Floridians lodged the sixth largest
number of complaints among the states, with an 11 percent increase in the
number of ID theft complaints per 100,000 residents. The state had three of
the nation?s top 25 metropolitan areas in reported ID theft complaints per
100,000 population in 2004, including Miami (#7), Orlando (#12) and
Tampa-St. Petersburg (#25).

?Identity theft is a crime that literally turns its victims? lives
upside-down by stealing their good name,? said Crist. ?Sadly, the holiday
season creates countless opportunities for identity thieves to prey on
consumers whose minds are on other matters The ability to share information
enables us to help prevent this insidious crime.?

In addition to the Attorney General, presenters at the ID Theft
Summit included Statewide Prosecutor Peter Williams and Victim Advocate
Theresa Adlam; Cindy Liebes, assistant regional director for the Federal
Trade Commission; Eric J. Ellman, Vice President and Counsel for State
Government and Federal Regulatory Affairs with the Consumer Data Industry
Association; Michael A. Libertore, Vice President for Loss Prevention for
Macy?s Florida; Thomas F. Kerr, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial
Officer for the Florida Bankers Association; and Detective Michael J.
Fabozzi of the NYPD’s Computer Investigation and Technology Unit.

Federal statistics show that credit card fraud accounts for almost
one of every three identity theft complaints filed by Floridians. Other
leading categories of ID theft reported by Floridians last year were frauds
involving banking, utilities, employment and government benefits.

Those who believe they have been the victim of identity theft should
call the Attorney General?s Fraud Hotline toll-free at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM

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