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My Florida C F O
Weekly eNewsletter from Florida's Chief Financial Officer

Dear Fellow Floridians:Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service

Today I attended the Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala. The Memorial was dedicated on January 11, 1992, at the Fire College to honor those selfless Florida firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives in the line of duty to protect their fellow Floridians.

As Florida’s State Fire Marshal, I am humbled to be able to honor these incredible men and women. Being a firefighter is a calling, and today we were all reminded of the choice that these men and women made. Whether as a volunteer or as a career, a firefighter chooses to serve.

The best way we can memorialize these exceptional men and women is to take every opportunity to emulate the qualities and courage they chose to live by. Let us all take a moment this weekend to remember and honor the firefighters in your communities who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our lives, our homes and our communities.Annual Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service

Those being honored:
Stewart Baker: Winter Garden Fire Dept.
Jack Barker: Tampa Fire Rescue
Loran Cochran: Hollywood Fire Department
Rufus Harrison: Wetumpka Vol. Fire Dept.
Scott Maness: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Leonard Rubin: Miami Beach Fire Dept.
Beau Sauselein: US Fish and Wildlife Service

View the program for the service.

Jeff Atwater
Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Hometown News: Join the fight against costly auto insurance fraud

Sunshine State News: Former Gov. Claude Kirk Honored in State at Old Capitol

Sun-Sentinel: Bad investment advice? South Florida case highlights what you can do

Florida Tribune: Department of Economic Opportunity debuts

NWF Daily News: Economist: Healthy job growth despite hurricanes, recession, oil spill

Sun-Sentinel: Homes for sale declining across South Florida

Forbes: Tickets for NBA stars in Miami sell out in 2 hours

Orlando Sentinel: Legoland keeps hints of Cypress Gardens -- with a Lego touch

St. Petersburg Times: Tampa Bay Innovation Center tries to break new ground

Strike Force Executive Director Appointed

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater has announced the appointment of attorney and fraud investigator Charles T. (Chuck) Faircloth as the Executive Director of the Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike Force. CFO Atwater signaled that Faircloth’s broad experience fighting fraud and false claims against the State of Florida, along with his criminal investigation background, will be tremendous assets for the Strike Force.

CFO Atwater chairs the Strike Force. Its mission is to oversee and coordinate state and local efforts to eliminate Medicaid and Medicaid and Public Assistance Fraud Strike ForcePublic Assistance fraud and to recover state and federal funds. The Strike Force also provides recommendations and policy alternatives to the Chief Financial Officer.

Faircloth is a career fraud prosecutor and investigations manager for the State of Florida. He began his career with the Office of the Attorney General in 1990. Faircloth most recently served as Managing Attorney for Criminal Law with the Department of Financial Services and Counsel to the Strike Force. Faircloth previously served as Inspector General for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and as Chief Assistant Attorney General for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, part of the Office of the Attorney General. He also served as Chief of Workers' Compensation Fraud for DFS’ predecessor agency, the Florida Department of Insurance.

Free Workshops for Women’s Small Business Month

Women and minority business owners contribute significantly to Florida’s economy. In fact, in the United States, eight-million women-owned businesses generate revenue of roughly $3 trillion each year and Florida ranks fourth in the United States for the number of women-owned businesses.

CFO Jeff Atwater, with the launch of his financial literacy campaign, Your Money Matter$, Women Small Business Ownersis providing interactive financial education through a series of Women's Small Business Workshops.

As a part of Women’s Small Business Month in October, free workshops are being offered in four cities: Tampa, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, and will address areas of financial concern; specifically the programs will provide easy-to-understand training and financial education that will increase knowledge and improve the success of businesses, not only locally, but across Florida.

Any small business owner is welcome to participate in these workshops.

The next workshop will be held in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday, October 14th.  Click here for workshop registration, dates and locations.

For additional information, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Consumers or call the Consumer Services Helpline at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).

Make Sure Your Mobile Home is Ready

Hurricane Season: Are you prepared?Mobile homes are most vulnerable to the risk of natural disaster, especially those involving high winds. By securing your home from the bottom up, you may increase your chances of protecting it from damage. It is important to ask your insurance agent about what coverage you may need and what coverage is available to protect your property so you are not underinsured or not insured at all.

Hurricane damage and destruction can be intensified by various structural problems, but here are a few tips to consider:

  • Make sure your home is well connected to the ground. All manufactured and mobile homes are required by Florida law to have tie-downs.
  • Install sliding storm accordion shutters on all windows.
  • Strengthen attachments such as carports, awnings, sheds and other connecting structures.
  • Remove any weak or damaged trees or limbs near or over the home.

For more information, on disaster preparation and creating a plan, visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and you are being urged to stop, think and connect. This awareness campaign was started in 2001 by the National Cyber Security Division of the U.S. Department ofNational Cyber Scurity Awareness Month Homeland Security. Its focus is to help citizens secure personally identifiable information that is stored on personal computers or on Web sites such as social media sites, gaming sites, and other online entities.

This year’s theme strives to educate citizens to secure personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers or any other information that is usually deemed confidential. Shredding paper documents is essential to keep this information confidential, but with more people moving towards paperless bill notifications each day, it is important to protect this information onlineStop. Think. Connect..

Never email your social security number, your passwords or credit card numbers. Select a complex password for each account as well as your smart phone. Monitor your financial accounts often and alert the company or bank if you notice suspicious activity.

Your financial history determines your financial future. By practicing these financial safety rules, you can take steps to safeguard your financial identity online.