TALLAHASSEE, Fla — While every year on April Fool’s Day, many Floridians take the opportunity to play harmless pranks on family, friends and colleagues, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is reminding Floridians to be on guard for fraudsters looking to fool you into a financial scam.
“While I like a good April Fool’s joke, falling victim to fraud is no laughing matter. 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," said CFO Jimmy Patronis. "Always verify before you buy to ensure a product or service is legitimate, monitor your bank accounts for suspicious activity, and always closely guard your personal and financial information. If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, report it immediately at https://myfloridacfo.com/fraudfreeflorida/.”
Tips to avoid fraud and scams
- Don't wire money or transfer funds. If you personally know a recipient, that's one thing. But if you don't, wiring money or using a prepaid debit card is like handing these scammers untraceable cash.
- Beware of fraudulent emails. A common way for scammers to get your information is through phishing emails. These are emails that appear to be from reputable sources, like your bank, credit card company or financial services firm.
- Create strong passwords. Use passwords that have upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers, and symbols in each password and writing them down somewhere safe and secure in case you forget. Keeping those passwords off of your computer makes it less likely you’ll be in danger if your computer were to be hacked. Learn more about computer safety to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
- Beware of imposters. It's possible for anyone to make up a title, name, email address or even phone number to get you to trust them. Most trustworthy sources won't be contacting you via a website or email to collect your personal information. Learn more about imposter scams and stay on guard.
- Be wary of being rushed. If you're feeling pressured to give any information or make a purchase, take a step back. Scammers often use timely threats, like deportation or service shutoffs, to make victims act before thinking.