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CONSUMER ALERT: Be Aware of Scams that Steal Your Personal Information this Labor Day Weekend

8/31/2018

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 31, 2018
Contact: Devin Galetta, Devin.Galetta@myfloridacfo.com, 850.413.2842 
 
CONSUMER ALERT: Be Aware of Scams that Steal Your Personal Information this Labor Day Weekend

Tallahassee, Fla.—Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis reminds Floridians to be vigilant for potential scams this Labor Day weekend. Scam artists know the holidays are an opportune time to give offers in effort to obtain your personal information or even persuade Floridians to splurge on fake vacation packages.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Someone recently impersonated me online because they had obtained my personal information: it can happen to anyone. Floridians should be cautious of offers that sound too good to be true because, most likely, they are.
 
“In 2017, Americans lost nearly $4 billion in misleading vacation bookings, 16.7 million consumers across the nation were impacted by identity fraud, and more than $16 billion was stolen from accounts. Do your research before providing any personal information or giving away your hard-earned money. We use the holidays to spend time with family and friends, while scam artists use it to prey on you.”
 
Tips to Avoid Holiday Scams:

1. Never Give Out Personal Information – No reputable company would ask for personal information such as your social security number over the phone. Before you give out any of your personal data, do your research into the company.
2. Check Online Ratings – Check the ratings of the business to ensure it is legitimate and has a good reputation with the public. The Better Business Bureau provides ratings, complaints and reviews from previous customers. 
3. Browse Cautiously – While browsing online for travel deals, avoid web ads and links that you cannot verify. Scam artists will use catchy wording and appealing images to grab your attention and entice you to book on a fraudulent site.
4. Book on Secure Sites - Before providing your credit card information, look for the secure lock symbol next to the website address or an address that starts with “https”. The “s” stands for secure.
 
Common Travel and Vacation Scams that Floridians Should Be Aware of:
 
1. Vacation Rental/Online Booking Scams – Scam artists post fake rental listings and require a deposit or personal information to book. When you arrive, the property is occupied or doesn’t exist at all.
2. Vacation Package – Scam artists offer a vacation package, which allegedly include airfare, mileage points and lodging for a great deal. When you arrive at the airport, you find out that the ticket is fraudulent.
3. Third-Party Operators – You book a plane ticket or hotel on a website that appears to belong to the airline or hotel. You later find out that the site is operated by a third-party vendor that may charge fees to book, may not be authorized to sell the tickets or offer hotel accommodations. 
4. Free Vacations – You receive an unsolicited offer of a free vacation. When you arrive, you may be required to pay additional fees or adhere to specific restrictions. Or, the vacation doesn’t exist at all and the scam artists stole your personal information.
 
For more information on protecting your personal information and finances, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/YMM.

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Acerca del Oficial Principal de Finanzas Jimmy Patronis
El Oficial Principal de Finanzas y Jefe de Bomberos del Estado Jimmy Patronis es oriundo de la Florida y miembro del Gabinete de la Florida, que supervisa el Departamento de Servicios Financieros. El Oficial Principal de Finanzas Patronis trabaja todos los días para luchar contra el fraude de seguros, apoyar a los bomberos de la Florida y garantizar que las finanzas del estado sean estables para respaldar el crecimiento financiero del estado. Siga las actividades del Departamento en Facebook (FLDFS) y Twitter (@FLDFS).