In light of the events that have occurred in 2020, fraud claims are on the rise. In Florida, there are several mechanisms to report fraud. The Department of Financial Services has a Fraud and Consumer Protection Initiative. If one believes he/she is a victim of fraud, or suspect that fraud is occurring, he/she can report the individual and/or entity in question. The mechanism to report fraud is a form completed online. See form here: https://www.myfloridacfo.com /SitePages/initiatives/Protection.aspx.
In addition to the Department of Financial Services, the office of the Attorney General has a Fraud Hotline number in which any individual suspecting or victimized by fraud can call to report as well. The Attorney General’s office also has a consumer complaint to report economic crimes. Once the complaint is submitted, the office will review the claim. See complaint form here: http://myfloridalegal.com/Contact.nsf/Contact?OpenForm&Section=Economic_Crimes. Lastly, an individual that suspects to be a victim of fraud or has been victimized by fraud can report it to their local police office, where the officers will determine whether to conduct an investigation.
Lastly, The Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services offers consumer resources for scams and frauds, parsing different industries where fraud can occur, which laws and regulations govern the sector, and an online complaint form.
How to Protect Yourself from Business Fraud in South Florida?
Business fraud can present itself in different ways. Most frequently, it can come in the form of a business opportunity such as a set of products, supply, or services conveyed in email, letters, and/or phone calls. Businesses in Florida are regulated pursuant to Chapter 559 of Regulation of Trade, Commerce, and Investments of the Florida Statutes.
Typical signs of fraud include:
- A promise that no experience is necessary;
- Pressure to sing a contract immediately;
- A large fee payable before receiving anything in return;
- Answers that do not answer your questions; and
- A guarantee of high earnings, with little risk.
To protect yourself and your business from business fraud, caution when you see the typical signs of fraud. Moreover, you can file a complaint with this Department.
How can I Report Fraud Claims with the Federal Government?
The Federal Trade Commission offers a mechanism to report fraud. Through the Commission, an individual or entity victimized or suspecting fraud can report and file a complaint. Be sure to be as specific as possible regarding the type of product or service involved and the depths of the transaction to give an adequate complaint. See complaint form: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.