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South Florida is the new Identity Theft Capital of the nation, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
The tri-county area experienced a large jump in reported incidents to the Federal Trade Commission in the last five years, revealing more thefts per capita than any other urban area in the country, according to the newspaper.
The number of incidents jumped from 8,317 in 2007 to 17,668 in 2011, the Sentinel said. Last year alone the number of thefts jumped by 76 percent.
Davie Police Capt. Dale Engle said he couldn’t submit a federal tax refund check because a thief filed for one under his name just days before.
"It's a huge problem," he was quoted as saying.
Hollywood resident Lyz DeMarco, now a victim for the third time, said the IRS rejected her tax return because her identity had been stolen. She told the Sentinel that someone tried to buy a number of surfboards in Texas with her credit card and then later tried to use her debit card at a sports bar.
"They must have made a counterfeit one," she told the newspaper. "I had mine with me."
The FTC requires that victims file affidavits with the IRS and report the case to police. Filing a report with the Social Security Administration is also recommended.