Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis and Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) Commissioner Russell Weigel want Floridians to know that scammers are preying on Floridians’ fears surrounding COVID-19, taking advantage of unsuspecting victims while emotions are high and there is a sense of urgency surrounding this public health crisis.
OFR is encouraging Floridians to remain vigilant while taking steps to protect themselves from scams.
During this time, scammers may rely on various tactics to steal your personal financial information. Fraudsters may use legitimate-looking or sounding emails, texts, social media posts and websites, hoping victims will click on links so they can steal your personal identifying information and money. Be especially careful about announcements requesting you submit your application to receive government financial aid.
Here are some simple steps that you can take to protect yourself:
- Make sure all of your electronic devices have the latest security software and updates.
- Protect your accounts with multi-factor authentication so your accounts are harder to access if your username and password are stolen.
- Don’t click on any email, text or electronic communication that is unsolicited even if you know the sender – scammers often already know your contacts and may mimic their email addresses to trick you.
- Don’t click on a link for a website you can’t independently verify as legitimate.
- Don’t click on a link for a website requesting you to validate your user name, password, or personal information. Call your credit card companies, financial institutions, and service providers directly for confirmation of their need to update your records.
- Only use trusted sources, like legitimate government websites for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.
- Before making any financial decisions, verify that you’re working with a licensed professional, ask questions, do your homework and contact OFR to report financial fraud or suspicious activity at (850) 487-9687 or online, www.flofr.com.
- Visit OFR’s Consumer Knowledge Center, where Floridians can learn more about financial topics, including how to spot potential scams.
- The Florida Office of Financial Regulation provides regulatory oversight for Florida’s financial services providers. Our mission is to protect Floridians, promote a safe and sound financial marketplace, and contribute to the growth of Florida’s economy with smart, efficient and effective regulation of the financial services industry.