According to data from the Federal Trade Commission, more than 20,000 cases of identity theft
were reported in Florida during the first half of 2011, the Sun Sentinel reports. That figure equals nearly all of the ID theft cases reported in the state last year.
Furthermore, the FTC found more than 11,000 reports of tax or wage fraud in the state - a marked increase from the 4,524 cases reported in 2010. The hardest hit areas were residents and businesses in southern Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Law enforcement officials believe this is due to the fact that these locations have larger populations of South Americans and Eastern Europeans - a majority of whom have been involved in criminal rings to defraud banks, mortgage companies and Medicare. Police also believe the down economy may be to blame. Illegal trades such as drug dealing are turning in less of a profit because there are less buyers, so these criminals must turn to other means of making money. WJXT-TV reports that a Jacksonville USPS mail supervisor was recently sentenced to three years in jail after it was learned she stole a resident's driver's license to conceal criminal acts she committed between 2004 to 2008.