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Scams Galore

July 11th, 2014 by Matt Galka

If you get a phone call about money you’ve won or owe and it doesn’t seem legitimate, you’re probably right. As Matt Galka tells us, there are plenty of scam artists trying to take advantage of people around the state this summer.

Maybe you’ve heard about the one targeting motorists.

“Various scams have surfaced across the country that seem to target motorists who have driven on a toll road or bridge,” said John O’Brien with the Florida Department of Transportation.

Or you’ve been tricked into thinking you won a large sum of money.

“There have been people telling another person that they have won, and they can’t cash the prize because they might be illegal, and so they want this person to cash it for them,” said Tom Delacenserie who is the Deputy of Security with the Florida Lottery.

These are just two examples of the scams sweeping Florida right now.  In both instances, consumers are being asked to provide banking information.  Experts say it’s one of the first signs of trouble

“Red flag number one, absolutely, we will never ask you for that information. We want the prize experience to be a good one,” said Delacenserie.

Many scams start with a phone call, or maybe an email.  Everything looks official, But if it sounds suspicious…it probably is.

Beth Frady with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation says problems can increase during hurricane season.  Unlicensed contractors can try to perform work on a weather damaged house…and that’s when a new storm of problems can occur.

“Someone can come in that is unqualified, unlicensed, having shown that they’re not qualified to do the work and they can be doing shoddy work on the house and that means that the consumer can potentially have to go back and hire someone that is licensed,” said Frady.

All of these scams have put the sunshine state at the top of a dubious list: Florida leads in the country in fraud complaints. In every instance, calling the official state or local agency to confirm what you may think is a fraud will be the easiest way to avoid getting scammed.

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