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**CONSUMER ALERT** CFO Jimmy Patronis Shares Tips to Protect Seniors from Fraud & Scams Ahead of World Senior Day

8/20/2021

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 20, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

**CONSUMER ALERT**
CFO Jimmy Patronis Shares Tips to Protect Seniors from Fraud & Scams Ahead of World Senior Day

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In recognition of World Senior Day tomorrow, August 21, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis shares tips and resources to protect seniors from fraud and scams. Earlier this year, CFO Patronis launched his “Be Scam Smart” Online Video Series, a consumer protection initiative to empower Florida’s seniors with information to better protect themselves from fraud. Last year, it’s estimated that seniors in the United States lost nearly $1 billion to scams. The free online videos cover topics such as common scam tactics, identity theft, and what to know before you purchase annuities and reverse mortgages. Visit MyFloridaCFO.com/SAFE to learn more.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Florida currently ranks third in fraud reports nationwide and fraudsters will stop at nothing to prey on our most vulnerable population, Florida’s seniors. Our seniors work their entire lives to build up their savings, only to have it tragically ripped away by bad actors looking to make a quick buck. These days, scams come in many forms: texts, emails, letters, and calls and the most common are social security scams, IRS scams, phishing scams and fake check scams. It is critical for Floridians, and especially our seniors, to always be on alert and know the warning signs of fraud. On World Senior Day, I’m encouraging seniors and caregivers to learn more about common scam tactics, so you can spot a scam before falling victim. If you feel you or a loved one has been scammed, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com.”

Tips from the Federal Trade Commission on Avoiding Scams:

• Block unwanted calls and text messages. Take steps to block unwanted calls and to filter unwanted text messages.

• Don’t give your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect. Legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers.

• Resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate businesses will give you time to make a decision. Anyone who pressures you to pay or give them your personal information is a scammer.

• Know how scammers tell you to pay. Never pay someone who insists you pay with a gift card or by using a money transfer service. And never deposit a check and send money back to someone.
• Stop and talk to someone you trust. Before you do anything else, tell someone — a friend, a family member, a neighbor — what happened. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.

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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).