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CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis: Scammers, Crooked Contractors are Already Preying on Families After Hurricane Michael

10/15/2018

For Immediate Release: Monday, October 15, 2018
Contact: Communications@myfloridacfo.com, 850.413.2842 
  
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis: Scammers, Crooked Contractors are Already Preying on Families After Hurricane Michael 
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis warned that scammers and crooked contractors are already out, preying on families in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. 
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, "I can’t say this enough: Hurricane Michael was catastrophic. I’ve already heard of crooked contractors who are asking for cash up front and pressuring some to sign an assignment of benefits contract. Check with your insurance agent, insurance company, or call my office before you sign anything. Storms bring out the best in people, but unfortunately, they bring out the worst in some. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 
 
“I’ll keep saying it: anyone who tries to scam this community in the wake of Hurricane Michael will be found by my Disaster Fraud Action Strike Teams, who are already have boots on the ground.”
 
Tips to Spot and Stop Post-Storm Fraud:
 
1.       Don’t Sign Anything. Call your insurance agent, insurance company, or CFO Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-MY-FL-CFO) before you sign anything, including assignment of benefits agreements.
 
2.       Too Good, to Be True? It Probably is. If an offer sounds too good, it most likely is. Don’t deal with anyone who demands cash up front.
 
3.       Beware of Crooked Contractors. Beware of a contractor or restoration professional who: offered to waive or discount your insurance deductible; has received payment and has failed to provide any repairs; offered to provide repairs at a cash-only discounted rate and has failed to provide repairs; or pressured you to sign an assignment of benefit (AOB) and has failed to provide any repairs to your home or stopped responding to your contact attempts.
 
4.       Verify. Verify the identity of individuals claiming to represent government and relief agencies or insurance companies. Official personnel should display ID badges, should provide identification without hesitation. Si sospecha que alguien se está haciendo pasar por personal oficial, comuníquese con el departamento de policía o la oficina del sheriff de inmediato.
 
5.       Beware of Door-to-Door. Imposters often go door-to-door claiming to be FEMA representatives, asking for money to assist with the filing of federal flood claims. La FEMA no cobra por este servicio y no va de puerta en puerta para hacer esta tarea.
 
6.       Beware of Robocalls. Imposters claiming to represent FEMA typically call consumers and ask them to hang up and dial a 1-800 number to make an insurance payment ASAP to prevent policy cancellations.
 
7.       Check a License. If you have damage to your home or vehicle, contact your insurance company immediately. Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses and hire only licensed professionals. If you have access to internet, verify a contractor’s license at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website - www.MyFloridaLicense.com/
 
8.       Check Liability Insurance. Ensure contractors carry proper liability and workers’ compensation insurance by checking the Department’s Division of Workers’ Compensation database.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis’ Insurance Consumer Helpline (1-877-MY-FL-CFO) is available to assist home and business owners with all insurance-related questions and concerns. Puede hacer la denuncia si sospecha de fraude a través de la Línea de Ayuda.
 
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Acerca del Oficial Principal de Finanzas
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).