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**CONSUMER ALERT** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Text Message Scams Impersonating Top Store Brands

9/28/2021

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842

**CONSUMER ALERT**
CFO Jimmy Patronis: Beware of Text Message Scams Impersonating Top Store Brands

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is highlighting a recent article by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) that is advising consumers to beware of text message scams. Recently, scammers have been impersonating well-known companies and offering discounts in the hope that consumers will act on the deal without doing their research, some of which are COVID-19 themed.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “The scammers are at it again and this time they’re impersonating some of your favorite stores with a tricky text message scheme. The scam works by sending a text to a consumer about a great deal from what looks like Walmart, Verizon, Amazon, or Costco, but really it’s just a way for hackers to steal your personal account information. Due to the pandemic and with more and more Floridians paying bills and shopping on their mobile device, scam text messages like this are on the rise. That’s why it’s important for consumers to remember to never click on a link in an unexpected text message. If you receive a text message that you believe may be fraudulent, verify it by contacting the company using a website or phone number that you know is real. If you are suspicious of fraud, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com. Always remember to stay on guard and verify before you buy. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

BBB’s Tips on How to avoid Text Message Scams

• Treat messages from unknown senders with caution. If you receive a message from a number you don’t recognize, be careful. Many companies engage in SMS marketing, but keep in mind that consumers must opt in to receive messages. If you haven’t given a company permission to text you, it’s probably a scam.

• Don’t click on links from strangers. Scammers often send shortened links that don’t let you see where they really lead in the body of their text message. If you click the link, you could be directed to a dangerous website, or you could download malware onto your device.

• Confirm deals directly with the company before you accept. If you are really hoping the deal is legitimate, go to the company’s official website and send them an email, or call to inquire. The company can let you know if the deal is real or not.

• Install antivirus software on your computer and mobile devices. This kind of scam can come from text messages or emails, so make sure all your electronics are protected. Antivirus software can scan for malware and alert you before you open a malicious website link.

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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).