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My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

This week, I announced a new series of Operation S.A.F.E. financial workshops to help inform, empower and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. Florida's seniors work their whole lives to save and build a nest egg for their families, and I want to make sure their finances are protected from anyone who might target them.

Operation Safe Be Scam Smart workshops offered.Statistics show that nearly one in five seniors has fallen victim to financial fraud. In order to combat this deceptive crime against seniors, I launched the statewide financial education initiative known as Operation S.A.F.E. to "Stop Adult Financial Exploitation" and the fraudsters who target Florida's seniors.

Our Operation S.A.F.E. 'Be Scam Smart' workshops and its accompanying website have already helped nearly 11,000 seniors protect themselves from becoming victims of financial fraud. Our workshops provide valuable resources and information such as:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Never sign incomplete or blank documents.
  • Know that it is a red flag if you are notified of winning a lottery for which you never submitted an entry, or are asked to pay money to collect any prize.
  • Always make sure you are dealing with a licensed insurance agent and verify before you buy.
  • Never send money to a company without full proof of their legitimacy. Check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the dealer is licensed.
  • Do not give out personal financial information by email or over the phone unless you initiated the contact.

Be Scam Smart workshops are open to seniors, family members and their caregivers. I encourage everyone to sign up for a workshop near you to learn how to protect your families' finances. Upcoming dates, times and locations of Operation S.A.F.E. workshops include the following:

  • Thursday, June 19 in Port St. Lucie
    at the Port St. Lucie Community Center from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
    2195 S.E. Arioso Boulevard, Port St. Lucie, FL 34984

  • Friday, June 20 in Sebastian
    at the N. Indian River County Library from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
    1001 Sebastian Boulevard, Sebastian, FL 32958

  • Tuesday, August 5 in Greenacres
    Greenacres Branch Library from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
    3750 South Jog Road, Greenacres, FL 33467

  • Wednesday, August 6 in Hollywood
    Boulevard Heights Community Center from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
    6770 Garfield Street, Hollywood, FL 33023

  • Thursday, August 7 in Jacksonville
    Mary L. Singleton Senior Center from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
    150 East First Street, Jacksonville, FL 32206

For more information, visit or call our Consumer Helpline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).

Jeff Atwater
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida

News of Interest

Orlando Business Journal: Florida exports up 2 percent in April

Reuters: U.S. states greet new fiscal year with modest spending growth

Miami Herald: Miami-Dade to become country’s largest accredited school system

Reuters: Sturdy U.S. manufacturing data bolster growth outlook

Tampa Bay Times: Florida's economic growth in 2013 better than most of the country

Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights Is Signed into Law

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater applauded Governor Rick Scott for signing Senate Bill 708 into law, creating a Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights that provides important consumer protections and greater transparency in the insurance claim-filing process.

"The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights is a much-needed resource to help homeowners understand their rights and responsibilities when filing an insurance claim," said CFO Atwater. "When someone is dealing with the unexpected loss of their property, they need to know they will be treated fairly by their insurance company and the contractors who are providing services."

The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights must be provided to every policyholder who files a claim. The bill of rights will be a simply worded one-page document that references current Florida law about the rights of policyholders in their claims process. It will also inform policyholders about what they should expect during their claims process and provide advice on the steps they should take in the process.

Senate Bill 708 passed unanimously in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, under the leadership of House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz. The House and Senate bill sponsors were Representatives Dave Hood and George Moraitis and Senator Aaron Bean. The Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights goes into effect on October 1, 2014.

Florida Economic Briefs

State Economy Growing Faster than U.S.
The value of Florida's total economy topped $800 billion in 2013, growing at a faster pace than the nation. In 2013, Florida's real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 2.2 percent over the year while U.S. real GDP grew by 1.8 percent.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

New foreclosure filings fall statewide in May
New foreclosures filings in Florida fell to a 12- month low in May, with approximately 20,000 new filings during the month.
Source: RealtyTrac

Florida's Bottom Line on SportsFlorida's Bottom Line

Each year, Florida is host to more than 1,800 professional sports events as well as thousands of other sporting games and tournaments statewide, including amateur and college sports, golf, fishing and hunting, boating and yachting, and motorsports. The innovation spurred by this, and the drive to create the world’s leading sports systems, are responsible for the development of new tools and technologies that better connect us, improve our quality of life, and allow us to explore and experience sports in more exciting, enriching ways. Inside the Spring edition of Florida’s Bottom Line, you’ll find expert commentary on the innovation and advancement happening within the world of sports right here in Florida.