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**CONSUMER ALERT** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Post-Disaster Fraud & Scams

9/8/2021

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

**CONSUMER ALERT**
CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Post-Disaster Fraud & Scams

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Today, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is encouraging Floridians to be on the lookout for post-disaster related scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sharing important safety tips to help guard against these types of schemes.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “With Invest 91L, which has a chance of developing into a tropical depression, heading towards Florida, I am reminding Floridians that it is important to know the signs of post-disaster fraud and scams anytime a storm takes aim at our state. Unfortunately, we know too well that after a hurricane hits, we see bad actors looking to make a quick buck. Always verify the license of contractors prior to hiring them to ensure they are registered to conduct business in Florida. Be wary of offers for post-storm repairs or services that require a cash payment. Also, make sure to guard your personal information closely and be on the look-out for charity related scams. If you or a loved one believes you have fallen victim to a post-storm scam, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com.”

Seven Tips from the FTC on how to avoid post-disaster scams:
 
• Be skeptical of anyone promising immediate clean-up and debris removal. Some may quote outrageous prices, demand payment up-front, or lack the skills needed.
• Check them out. Before you pay, ask for IDs, licenses, and proof of insurance. Don’t believe any promises that aren’t in writing.
• Never pay by wire transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency, or in cash. And never make the final payment until the work is done and you’re satisfied.
• Guard your personal information. Only scammers will say they’re a government official and then demand money or your credit card, bank account, or Social Security number.
• Know that FEMA doesn’t charge application fees. If someone wants money to help you qualify for FEMA funds, that’s probably a scam.
• Be wise to rental listing scams. Steer clear of people who tell you to wire money or ask for security deposits or rent before you’ve met or signed a lease.
• Spot disaster-related charity scams. Scammers will often try to make a quick profit from the misfortune of others. Check out the FTC’s advice on donating wisely and avoiding charity scams.
 
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. 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).