Florida's identity-theft rate dwarfs others

Sure, the headline gives away the answer, but if you had been asked to guess which state has the highest rate of reported identity theft you'd likely have chosen Florida: A large population of vulnerable retirees and a generally high crime rate all but guarantee the distinction.

What might surprise you, however, is the magnitude of Florida's "lead" over the other 49 states.  It's mindboggling. According to statistics gleaned from the Federal Trade Commission's most recent Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, Floridians reported about 70,000 incidents of identity theft in 2012, or 361 for every 100,000 residents.

Florida's neighbor to the north, Georgia, ranks second on the list, but with only 194 reports per 100,000 residents, or roughly half that of the Sunshine State. Yet even that lopsided comparison doesn't begin to do justice to the enormity of Florida's ID theft plague.Numbers three through five are California, Michigan and New York -- large industrial states with crime-fighting challenges of their own yet only one-third of the identity theft as Florida.

Nevada is No.6 and even carrying the full weight of Sin City reports only 30% as many victims of identity theft as does Florida. Same thing for Arizona, which like Florida is a haven for retirees.

Let's jump down to the median, where Washington sits at No. 25 and Ohio at No. 26: Floridians are fully five times more likely to be victimized than residents of these two states.

And then we have the Dakotas at No. 49 (North) and No. 50 (South): Residents there run only one-tenth the risk of identity theft as your average Floridian.

Of course, when's the last time you heard of anyone retiring to the Dakotas?

NFL won't kill fax either

The NFL Players Association announced recently that its members will now have free access to an electronic-signature service. The news raised an interesting sports question: Would this technology have prevented the March contract-deadline fiasco that cost the Denver Broncos star defensive end Elvis Dumervil?   

From a press release: "Today's announcement follows an intriguing offseason in which contract negotiation logistics made unexpected headlines. DocuSign's cloud-based eSignature platform assures that every NFLPA member can sign documents quickly and securely anytime, anywhere on their mobile device without the hassles of printing, faxing, scanning, or overnighting. NFL players will no longer have to search for a fax machine to execute a deal."

Although the release mentions neither a particular contract nor Dumervil, it's clearly alluding to the former Bronco, who is now a Baltimore Raven. For those who don't follow football: Dumervil had agreed to restructure his contract in order to stay with Denver, but -- after scrambling to find a Kinkos -- faxed his copy of the agreement six minutes past a contractual deadline.

So back to the question: If Dumervil used DocuSign instead of a fax machine would he still be with Denver? I emailed the NFLPA, DocuSign and the latter's public relations firm. Shortly afterward I received a paragraph-long answer from the PR rep that extolled the virtues of DocuSign but didn't address my question. On the second try, I heard back from NFLPA spokesman Mike Donnelly:"The answer is no. DocuSign doesn't replace the agreement between the NFLPA and NFL for player contracts to be faxed." ... Better technology can't solve every problem.

Email your comments, don't fax. Address is buzz@nww.com.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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