The FBI had not anticipated the types of crime it would be dealing with in 2014; human trafficking and violent street gangs remain a serious problem, but identity theft and tax-refund theft are quickly overtaking those issues. The population demographics make Florida an attractive feeding ground for fraud, scams, and identity theft. Florida is well known as a popular retirement location for Americans and many of its residents collect social security and are on Medicare.
Tax-refund theft involves several different crime teams. The computer systems must be infiltrated for identity information; the thieves target the large databases of names found in places like hospitals or schools. To steal an identity, information like social security numbers and birthdates are needed so thieves try to hack systems that would contain this information. Next another group within the same crime syndicate, or a group that has purchased this information, then files a fraudulent tax return. Florida residents reported nearly 51,000 of these crimes in 2012; the highest in the country!
Healthcare fraud continues to be one of the FBIs biggest headaches in South Florida, but identity fraud is growing at a much faster rate. The number of reports more than doubled from 2011 to 2012.
International crime organizations dealing in drug and human trafficking are also major pains for South Florida’s FBI squads. The focus has shifted from collaring street level perpetrators to taking out the heads of these organizations. Also there have been many instances of corruption among officials which has shaken the public trust in the government.
Only a few reports of terrorism have come in in recent years, but the authorities would rather stop terrorists before they become a problem. The FBI takes every single crime tip seriously; even though only about 1 out of 100 amount to anything.