Dear Fellow Floridians:
In recognition of March as Fraud Prevention Month, I want to make sure you are armed with the knowledge necessary to avoid becoming a victim of fraud and the financially devastating impact it can have on your family.
Protection, detection and prevention are all critical components to safeguarding your personal information and life savings. Your first line of defense in protecting yourself from fraud is to guard your confidential information, such as social security numbers and tax returns. You should also be aware of the most common frauds and how to recognize them.
Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods to exploit consumers of all ages through schemes such as mail fraud, telemarketing fraud, identity theft and countless other illegal activities. The criminals who perpetrate financial fraud spend much of their time learning how to scam responsible, hard-working citizens. Many victims never believed it could happen to them until it was too late.
In order to stay vigilant and updated on frauds and scams, our department’s Division of Consumer Services has compiled a list of common scams and information about how to avoid them. Our
Your Money Matter$ and
On Guard for Seniors websites and our
OnDemand Video Library feature interactive videos on a variety of financial topics including identity theft and an identity theft awareness test to determine if your financial habits are putting you at risk for identity theft.
In addition to these resources, our toll-free
Consumer Helpline is available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 1-800-MY-FL-CFO (1-800-693-5236) to answer questions and complaints relating to 26 lines of insurance. Our dedicated fraud investigators, meanwhile, are diligently fighting fraud. Last year, fraud-related arrests totaled more than 1,600.
Do not fall prey to fraudsters. By increasing your awareness of how a fraud can occur, coupled with knowledge about common tactics used by fraudsters, you can stay on guard and make sound financial decisions. Safeguard your personal information and keep your hard earned money in your pocket, where it belongs.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida
Florida Economic Briefs
U.S. Small Business lending increases in January, signals continued economic growth
U.S. small businesses borrowed more money in January than they did a year earlier, signaling continued growth in the economy despite a spate of cold weather that has been blamed for weakness in many other indicators of activity. The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index, which measures the volume of financing to small companies, rose to 117.2 in January, up four percent from a year earlier. A rise in the index is historically correlated with stronger U.S. economic growth a quarter or two in the future.
Source: Paynet Small Business Lending Index
Florida economic activity continues to grow, led by housing sector investment
Economic activity increased across Florida with retail sales increasing more than seven percent over the year. The housing, automobile and business investment sectors reported the largest gains in sales activity over the past 12 months.
Source: Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research
Florida's Bottom Line
Explore the latest edition of
Florida’s Bottom Line. Inside, you’ll find expert insight on Florida’s economy, finances, workforce and housing market in the year ahead.