Tampa, FL – The numbers don’t lie. Florida is the credit card fraud capital of the nation based on the number of complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. The agency received the most credit card fraud complaints from Florida in 2015.
As you have traded cash for plastic, you’ve also put your personal information at risk.
Consumer research site, Value Penguin, ranked the states and territories. Florida came in 51st. Value Penguin reports that the number of complaints has risen in the state by 130 percent since 2011.
Part of that could be because of skimmers, cyber hackers and other financial fraudsters. Analysts say the major data breaches from retailers like Target and TJ Maxx also played a role in the rise.
Shoppers say credit cards are part of their lives and so is preparing for fraud.
“It’s just such a habit. It’s like brushing my teeth,” one shopper said.
Matt Bellina says using plastic is easier and more convenient. He has yet to be a victim of credit card fraud.
"Luckily I've just been fortunate enough. I probably won't start being careful until something bad like that happens to me,” he said.
Security experts say that could happen sooner rather than later if you don’t protect your financial information.
“Systems that are most vulnerable are financial transactions, shopping sites, banking sites, things of that nature,” said security expert Frank Wuco.
Wuco says in cyberattacks and phishing scams thieves are going after your financial information.
“The Security 101 procedure is always frequently change your passwords,” he said.
According to Wuco you should change your password once a month. He says never store your password or credit card numbers on your phone or computer. Opting out of things like automatic bill payments help reduce your risk of credit card fraud.
To ensure that you aren’t a victim monitor your statements and credit, too.
The new chip-enabled credit cards also won’t stop credit card fraud.
“You can’t get rid of credit card fraud entirely until you get rid of the credit card itself,” said Braden Perry of Kennyhertz Perry, LLC.
“That still leaves online purchases, ATM fraud, such as skimming or trapping, and other non-chip merchants willing to be liable for fraud,” he said.