The phrase rolls so easily off the tongue. Too easily, given new national statistics that show — right down to the metro area — that Florida remains by far the fraud capital of the United States. The state should be careful, lest it becomes Florida’s involuntary brand.
Fourteen of the 50 U.S. metro areas with the highest concentration of fraud and related complaints are right here in this state. Among those 14: the Tampa Bay metro, which ranks No. 18 in the country. Also on the list are other big Florida metros, from Jacksonville and Orlando to Miami-Fort-Lauderdale-Palm Beach.
The rankings come from an analysis by the Federal Trade Commission of fraud and related complaints for 2014 compiled from a nationwide law enforcement data base containing more than 2.5 million complaints.
Who knew that Homosassa, best known for its springs and manatees, had the most fraud and consumer complaints per capita in the state? The town north of Tampa Bay was second in the nation to another small Sunbelt town in remote southern Arizona, Sierra Vista.
Why are we the Scam Magnet? Theories abound.