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New 'identity manipulation' trend emerging from South Florida

Sep 14, 2011 Karen Umpierre

A new form of identity theft is beginning to take hold in certain areas of the country, and it seems to be spearheaded by individuals in the Sunshine State. Identity "manipulation," as it's called, involves the alternation of Social Security numbers or birthdays by merely a few digits when applying for credit cards, phone services, loans or credit transactions. Needless to say, the individuals who own the actual manipulated identities end up suffering weak credit. According to a recent study by ID Analytics, the trend has taken hold mainly in South Florida. However, new technology is permitting officials to track where this identity fraud is coming from and react appropriately. "I was very surprised to see that zips 330, 331 and 333 are extremely bad in terms of fraudulent applications for credit cards and cell phones," Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology officer for ID Analytics, told the Sun Sentinel. "That is, 98 percent of the U.S is better than these areas," he added. "There's some really bad activity emanating from these three zip code areas."