CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Angela Bernhardt says someone has stolen her identity. "And they tried to get two credit cards underneath my name," she said.
She checked her credit and there it was in black and white, two cards for which she says she never applied. "So, I went across the street to the Clay County Sheriff's Office and made a report."
Financial crimes Detective Bill Roberts says it's a story he's heard a lot lately. He says ID theft comes in waves, and right now, that wave is in Oakleaf Plantation.
He says crooks are skimming information from the magnetic strip on the back your cards. And he says it could happen anywhere, from banks to gas stations to restaurants.
"The information's being re-encoded on other cards and used in various places from Miami to Tampa and up on Georgia," said Det. Roberts.
He says more than a dozen reports have been filed in Clay County within the past two weeks. And he says the only sure fire way to protect yourself is to use cash.
Bernhardt says she doesn't know how the crooks got her information. But she's taken the proper steps by contacting her bank and the police, making sure her stolen financial information doesn't go far. "I'm on top of it," she said. "I'm doing everything I can."
Detectives say they rarely catch ID thieves. The best they can do is stay on top of the different ways information is stolen, and stop it before it starts.