Florida is the Credit Card Fraud Capital of the United States
Credit card fraud in a growing problem all around the country. In fact, the Federal Trade Commision (FTC) recently reported that they received a record number of credit card fraud complaints in 2015. While fraud is a problem everywhere, Florida has been particularly hard hit. At least that is the finding from a recent study published by Valuepenguin, a leading consumer research organization. Their research found that Florida now has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in credit card fraud reports.
Understanding Florida’s Credit Card Fraud Problem
In 2015, Florida had a rate of 42.5 credit card fraud complaints filed per 100,000 residents. To put this statistic into perspective, the national credit card fraud rate is 17.5 complaints per 100,000 residents. That means that credit card fraud is reported to occur in Florida approximately 2.5 times as often as it does in the rest of the county. Even the state with the second highest rate of credit card fraud reports, California, only had 34 complaints per 100,000 residents. To make matters more concerning, the study also noted that credit card fraud is chronically under-reported. Many people, especially victims of minor or moderate fraud, never actually report the issue. Therefore, the true rate of credit card fraud is likely still significantly higher than the data currently shows.
Were You the Victim of Credit Card Fraud? Three Things You Should Do
- Contact the credit bureaus: Under the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus are required to take action if you report fraud. They can put out a fraud alert on your accounts and identity. It is imperative that you contact at least one of the three major agencies. This will help you get a handle on the situation. Further, it is the best way to put a stop to additional fraud. When you report fraud, you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report and it is a good practice to review your report in detail.
- File an official complaint: After contacting the credit agencies, it is then advisable to file complaints with the appropriate authorities. You should generally contact your local Florida police department as well as the Federal Trade Commission. This can help you to begin the process of disavowing any debt that is not truly yours.
- Contact an attorney: Finally, if you have suffered significant damages, you should generally contact an experienced consumer fraud attorney. Your attorney can help you seek to recover damages for anything that you have lost and can also help you clear your financial standing with overly aggressive debt collectors. You should not be held responsible for any debt associated with credit card fraud.
Contact Our Office Today
Credit card fraud can cause tremendous financial damage to you or your business. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our business & consumer fraud lawyers have helped many fraud victims recover compensation for their damages. To schedule a free review of your case, please contact our West Palm Beach office at (561) 291-8298. Our firm represents clients throughout South Florida, including in Wellington and Coral Springs.