The sun, sand and waves may be a paradise to some, but letting relaxation take over may mean letting your guard down as well! Recently, Florida has become a mecca for all different kinds of scams, with South Florida leading the way as the nation's organized fraud capital. As the types of scams grow, the three most popular are identity theft coupled with tax fraud and Medicare and mortgage fraud.
Identity Theft and Tax Fraud
Identity theft has become a prolonged problem in Florida, about 193 complaints per 100,000 residents in 2013 according to the Federal Trade Commission. All a scammer needs to complete this scam is to steal a person's name and Social Security number. Then they will use this information to file a fraudulent tax return online and reap the benefits of the refund check!
Everyone can be susceptible to this kind of scam, so be very cautious when giving out your information.
This type of scam usually depends on a bigger network, potentially involving doctors, administrators and even patients looking for a kickback! Doctors can falsely diagnose patients, performing unnecessary procedures that can be billed to Medicare for a payoff. Recently, the Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services departments have charged about 2,300 people who had falsely billed Medicare for $7 billion.
Florida has become a leader in mortgage fraud as well leading the nation since 2009. As a common scam, a company can pay kickbacks to borrowers whose applications for Federal Housing Administration loans were alter so that they would qualify. After, these loans can be sold to banks and other institutions for a profit.
Be careful when looking for a mortgage and only go through reputable companies or banks when applying!
These three frauds are only the three most popular of many varieties of scams in Florida, so be careful and watch out for anything suspicious. Remember, to be careful when sharing information and only trust reputable sources when looking for these services!