Thirteen of the top 20 identity theft markets in the United States are located in Florida, and Miami has more reported cases of identity thefts than New York City. The high number of victims having their personal information stolen each year has made Florida the top state in the nation for identity theft.

In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission logged 69,795 complaints, according to the Florida Office of the Attorney General's website. By comparison, the second leading state is California, with 46,658 complaints. Florida also had the most complaints by population – with 361.3 per 100,000 people. There may be a possible link to the high number of identity crimes and the amount of people in Florida receiving government benefits, .

"One of the things we're trying to understand is why Florida has such an epic problem," said Stephen Ebbett, president of an Atlanta-based insurance company. "One of the facts that we've unearthed is that 72 percent of fraud victims in Florida experience identity theft related to government documents and benefits."

On the list of popular identity theft complaints from Florida residents, government documents or benefits fraud lead – with 50,561 complaints, or 76 percent of all identity theft occurrences. About 5,000 credit card fraud complaints were reported in Florida in 2012 and 2,675 bank fraud complaints came into the FTC. Phone or utilities fraud, employment-related fraud and loan fraud were also reported.

Yet, while some may think Florida's identity theft problem may be due to the high number of elderly retirees in the Sunshine State, Consumer Affairs said college students are often targets, too.

"You've got a lot of universities down there," Ebbett told the source. "You've also got a lot of people on both ends of the economic spectrum."

Top Florida Cities for ID Theft
Along with Miami, which submitted 35,914 complaints about identity theft to the FTC, Tampa also ranked high. The city on the west coast of the state had 9,805 identity theft complaints last year.

Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Petersburg and Clearwater, Fla., also made the top 10 list last year.

Help for ID Theft Victims
The Florida Attorney General's Office on how to respond to such an incident. If a person's government-issued identification information is stolen, for instance a Medicare card, the attorney general said residents should immediately contact the agency that issued the ID. The attorney general's office also offers an on its website. 

Brett Montgomery is a fraud operations team leader at IDentity Theft 911.

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