In recognition of International Fraud Awareness Week, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis called on Floridians to learn more about the latest fraud schemes and to “Be Scam Smart” to better identify fraud before becoming a victim.
The CFO also encouraged consumers to track and report the latest fraud and scam tactics in their communities by using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker. In partnership with Patronis’ “Fraud Free Florida” initiative, the BBB’s online Scam Tracker tool includes an interactive map to help keep Floridians informed of local fraud trends and emerging scams in their area.
“Florida ranks second in fraud and identity theft reports nationwide and it is estimated that fraud cost Floridians nearly $90 million last year alone. 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. It is critical for Floridians, and 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 on Monday.
The CFO’s office offered the following Quick 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.