In recognition of Consumer Protection Week next week, we encourage you to educate yourselves about how to avoid consumer scams. The State Attorney's Consumer Protection Division diligently pursues unscrupulous individuals and businesses who deceive or otherwise scam innocent consumers in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Consumers can protect themselves during business transactions by:
• Researching companies prior to making any purchases or other transactions;
• Putting your phone number on the National Do Not Call registry by visiting DoNotCall.gov;
• Not providing your social security number unless it is required and certainly never giving it out to a stranger over the phone or via the Internet;
• Being careful when providing any sensitive information via the Internet or over the phone; and
• Checking your credit report every 12 months. The law provides you with one free credit report check once every twelve months. You can check your credit by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
One additional tip is to verify that those with whom you do business with are legitimately registered on Sunbiz, licensed and bonded (if required). Also, Florida Homestead Services will continue to strenuously protect our exemplary reputation and our ethics policy by not participating in any fraudulent practice or scam. We will diligently report individuals or entities who attempt to defraud any person or entity in regards to claiming exemptions and benefits that are not authorized by law.
For additional tips on how to make informed consumer decisions, avoid scams, protect personal information, and file complaints with the State Attorney's office regarding possible unfair or deceptive conduct. You can also call 1-866-9-NO-SCAM to report a potential violation of Florida's consumer protection laws.