As Floridians begin their search for holiday shopping deals this week, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis warned consumers to beware of potential scams surrounding Black Friday and offers four tips to avoid becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.
“Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year and, even with more Floridians turning to online shopping this year, it is imperative to protect yourself from Black Friday fraud and scams. Scammers are constantly using new tricks to steal your hard-earned money but the best defense is to know the warning signs of a scam before you fall victim. Monitor your bank accounts for suspicious activity and always closely guard your personal and financial information. I encourage all Floridians to stay alert when shopping this holiday season and be on the lookout for potential scams. Visit FraudFreeFlorida.com to learn more about common scams and report fraud in your area,” Patronis said.
The CFO’s office offered the following “Tips to Protect Yourself from Black Friday Scams” this week:
- If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Be careful of unfamiliar merchants and be extra wary of items listed at prices well below those of other shops. The ultimate bargain may really be bogus or stolen goods.
- Use a credit card instead of cash or debit. Credit cards offer consumer protection if things go wrong with a purchase.
- Be careful of credit and coupon offers. Those last-minute deals that offer discounts in exchange for opening up a new credit account can be a trap to make you divulge financial information.
- Watch your account balances. Monitor your checking, savings, credit and any others for unauthorized charges or deposits. Report any suspicious activity immediately.
To report fraud or learn about ways to protect yourself from scams, visit it at FraudFreeFlorida.com.