A top federal prosecutor says Florida has the nation's highest rate in the nation of identity theft, with the information often used to commit tax fraud.
Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said Tuesday that Florida had an identity theft rate in 2012 of more than 361 complaints per 100,000 residents, tops in the country. And Miami led with way with about 645 complaints per 100,000 residents.
Ferrer says his office has prosecuted 270 defendants since a strike force was formed in 2012. Those cases involved some $449 million in fraudulent tax refund claims and about 76,700 identity thefts.
Authorities say tax returns should be filed early so identity thieves don't get to the IRS first. People also shouldn't carry any document that includes their Social Security number.