In recognition of October as National Crime Prevention Month, last week, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis reminded Floridians about important ways to identify scams to avoid becoming a victim.
So far this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reported more than 83,000 fraud complaints in Florida and nearly $143 million in fraud losses.
“Since January, the FTC has reported more than 83,000 fraud complaints in Florida, with more than 31,000 related to imposter scams. Floridians must be on the lookout for fraud and scams, and the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to stay informed of new scam tactics. While technology has improved our daily lives, it’s being used every day by scam artists to develop creative new ways to steal your money. I encourage all Floridians to visit FraudFreeFlorida.com to learn about the latest tricks used by criminals. Stay on guard and learn how to spot scams before it’s too late,” Patronis said.
Patronis offered the following tips to avoid scams from the FTC:
• 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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