HB 409 Offenses Against Vulnerable Persons:
Recently Florida was named the state with the highest rate of reported identity theft with South Florida named the worst place for identity theft in the country. That is why this year I successfully passed legislation aimed towards reducing the alarming rate of identity theft in our state. The bill enhances penalties for identity theft crimes against seniors, the disabled, public servants, veterans, first responders, and state and federal employees. I believe these groups of people are often easy targets for criminals looking to steal identities and must be protected. Currently, enhanced penalties exist when the victim is a minor. Additionally, our courts will now be required to add a surcharge on persons convicted of using personal identification information for criminal purposes. The money collected from this surcharge will go to our state attorneys and law enforcement officers to assist in bringing identity thieves to justice. I believe our State must actively address the threat of identity theft and this proposal is a step in the right direction.