So what else is new? Florida ranks #1 for consumer fraud complaints, partly due to our transient (and often older) population. According to a Federal Trade Commission report, Florida residents lost over $80 million to fraud in 2018.
There was a big increase in government imposter scams. That’s where someone calls you, pretending to be from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or other government agency. To “fix” the problem they’re calling about, you need to send them money, provide access to your financial passwords, or give them your credit card information.
The real problem? They’re fake.
Beware of people impersonating government or tax officials. They use “spoofing” technology to make it appear like they’re calling from your area, or from a legitimate number.
Remember: if they’re calling you on the phone, it’s not legit. The real folks will never contact you that way.
While imposter fraud is now the most popular, it’s not the only tool in the crooks’ playbook. Here’s the top 10 list:
Top 10 Fraud Categories
- Imposter Scams
- Telephone and Mobile Services
- Shop-at-Home and Catalog Sales
- Prizes, Sweepstakes and Lotteries
- Internet Services
- Travel, Vacations and Timeshare Plans
- Foreign Money Offers and Counterfeit Check Scams
- Business and Job Opportunities
- Advance Payments for Credit Services
- Health Care
The Takeaway: You can report fraud, and learn more about senior protection initiatives, by contacting the Florida Attorney General’s office or officials in your state. If in doubt, get a second opinion before making a large purchase or investment, or responding to a phone, mail or “free lunch” offer. Be sure to ask your financial advisor or a trusted family professional to weigh in before you commit.