Jimmy Patronis Calls on Floridians to Be Wary of Fraud Schemes

In recognition of International Fraud Awareness Week, this week, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis encouraged Floridians to learn more about the latest fraud schemes and is sharing tips so you can better identify fraud before becoming a victim.

Earlier this year, Patronis launched “Be Scam Smart,” which is an online video series aimed at empowering Florida’s seniors with information to better protect themselves from fraud. Last year, it’s estimated that seniors in the United States lost nearly $1 billion to scams. The free online videos cover topics such as common scam tactics, identity theft, and what to know before you purchase annuities and reverse mortgages. Visit MyFloridaCFO.com/SAFE to learn more.

“As CFO, I’m committed to fighting fraud and ensuring Floridians are aware of the latest fraud and scam tactics. Scams come in many forms: texts, emails, letters, and calls and the most common ones are social security scams, IRS scams, phishing scams and fake check scams. When it comes to scams, the best defense is a good offense, and it is critical for Floridians, especially our seniors, to always be on alert and know the signs of scams. By educating yourself on common scam tactics, you can spot a scam before falling victim. I encourage all Floridians to be scam smart and learn more about commons scams tactics at FraudFreeFlorida.com,” Patronis said.

Tips from the Federal Trade Commission on Avoiding Scams:

• Block unwanted calls and text messages. Take steps to block unwanted calls and to filter unwanted text messages.

• Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.

• Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.

• Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.

• Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.

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