On Monday, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis activated his Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) which has been deployed to the Panhandle to protect Floridians from storm-related fraud following Hurricane Sally.
The DFAST deployment consists of eight insurance fraud and workers’ compensation investigators positioned in the storm impacted areas including Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Patronis’ anti-fraud teams work to educate and inform the public on signs of post-storm fraud and ensure contractors are following Florida workers’ compensation law while conducting repairs.
“Following a natural disaster, scam artists work overtime to defraud individuals in their time of need and that is why I have deployed my Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team to the Pensacola area to be on the lookout for bad actors trying to make a buck off of the damage caused by Hurricane Sally. These anti-fraud strike teams consist of trained insurance fraud investigators with specialized knowledge of property and casualty fraud and workers’ compensation fraud that will be on the ground today in the impacted areas of the Panhandle to ensure residents can recover quickly and lawbreakers are held responsible. It’s vital that consumers know the warning signs of fraud and if you or a loved one believes they have fallen victim to a post-storm scam, report it immediately at MyFloridaCFO.com,” Patronis said on Monday.
Patronis urged residents across counties in the Florida Panhandle and Big Bend to call his Insurance Consumer Helpline toll-free at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) for insurance assistance and help with the claims process.
Indicators of Storm-Related Fraud:
1. A contractor or restoration professional who offered to waive or discount your insurance deductible.
2. A contractor or restoration professional that has received payment and has failed to provide any repairs to your home.
3. A contractor or restoration professional who offered to provide repairs at a cash-only discounted rate and has failed to provide repairs to your home.
4. A contractor or restoration professional who pressured you to sign an AOB and has failed to provide any repairs to your home or stopped responding to your contact attempts.
To report suspected fraud, call the Department’s toll-free Fraud Tip Hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or visit MyFloridaCFO.com.