Daytona Beach, FL - Recent data shows that the World's Most Famous Beach has some of the highest cases of fraud in the nation.
That according to reports from both the Florida Department of Financial Services and the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel Network.
In both of those reports, not only does Daytona Beach rank in the top 10 for metropolitan areas with the most fraud cases, but Florida also ranks number one nationwide for fraud, and 4th in identity theft.
"And it's sad," said Jimmy Patronis, Chief Financial Officer for the State of Florida. "This is the most of any state in the United States."
The report from the Consumer Sentinel Network shows that, as of March 31st, Florida has had a total loss of $14.4 Million due to fraud cases, of which 17,198 were reported in the state alone.
"This is from insurance fraud calls, spoofing calls," says Patronis. "These are things that these fraudsters are making money off of."
A 2018 report from the CSN says that Daytona Beach had a total of 4,283 fraud reports filed, and only 855 identity theft reports filed last year.
According to Patronis, almost $1 billion was reported stolen nationwide last year. But, he says that's probably only a drop in the bucket compared to what was really stolen.
"Too often consumers are too embarrassed to report they've been taken advantage of," said Patronis.
He says one way to help fix this problem is for people to report any cases of fraud they may have gone through to the state.
And, according to Patronis, Florida has already taken some steps to prevent the use of one of the most common instruments of fraud, fake calls.
He said that the state has recently reached out to T-Mobile, who is implementing a brand new anti-spoofing app prebuilt into their phones. That app will filter out any suspicious numbers and label them as such when they call.
The same can also be said about AT&T and Verizon.
Fake calls have been a problem locally too. Last year, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office had two cases of phone scams. In one of those cases, a scammer was calling residents pretending to be an FCSO detective.
Another scammer was caught trying to solicit donations for a fake holiday program.
In February, Patronis launched a brand new initiative known as Fraud Free Florida to better coordinate collective investigative efforts to protect Florida's population from fraud.
That initiative will bring together statewide law enforcement officials, local state attorneys, private sector stakeholder and members of Patronis' fraud investigation teams.
Residents will also be able to report fraud through FFF's website.