Spike in ID theft bedevils consumers, cops in Central Florida

It didn’t take long for Sena Howell to pick out the black Mercedes Benz, forge a few signatures, flash a fake driver license and drive away in the $50,000 sport-utility vehicle, cops say.

It took two weeks, though, for the victim to realize her identity had been stolen and that Howell had allegedly used it to fraudulently purchase the vehicle, while also racking up thousands of dollars in credit-card debt, according to police.

Local authorities say identity theft is a growing problem in Central Florida and across the country.

That was highlighted locally last week when officials announced the arrest of an Orlando couple accused of stealing hundreds of Florida resident’s identities and using them to apply for public assistance.

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