|Published:||Jun 27, 2012 10:24 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 28, 2012 12:01 AM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- It's an anonymous crime, spiking to unprecedented levels. Identity theft cases are surging in Collier County and experts say scammers are using strategy.
"This area has a high average age, high wealth...some of the highest wealth in the United States. What's better than that?" said Iberia Bank scam expert Keith Dameron.
So far this year, Collier County Sheriff's Office's Financial Crimes Bureau has investigated 929 cases of identity theft, up from 381 cases last year.
Now, investigators are launching a new class to help residents fight back.
"The sooner you catch it, the sooner you can stop it in its tracks and move on," CCSO's Lt. Chad Parker said Wednesday.
Parker says fraudulent income tax returns make up the bulk of this year's cases, but their free class educates on dozens of scams circulating Collier County.
"They're real copies of the letters, checks that people have received," Parker said Wednesday.
Experts say education is the only way to ward off scammers after your savings, as their efforts are only expected to rise.
"We're responding sufficiently to the different kinds of scams, to where it's causing them to increase their hits in our zip codes, because they know they're going to get something out of it," Dameron said.
Collier County Sheriff's Office's Identity Theft Awareness class is scheduled for next Tuesday, July 3rd at 10 am. The event will be held in their Professional Development Center, located at 615 Third Avenue S, room 108 in Naples.
To sign up, call CCSO at 239-252-0687.
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