According to a 2014 Federal Trade Commission report, Florida leads the nation in fraud complaints with nearly 1,000 per 100,000 residents in the state. Some experts believe that the high number of retirees in the state, who are often more susceptible to scams than younger people, is the reason for the high fraud rates in the Sunshine State. Learn more about the most common Florida scams.
Tax Refund Fraud
According to the U.S. Treasury, Florida has a high incidence of of tax refund fraud. In some cases, the scammer uses fraudulent IRS logos to gain personal information to commit identity theft, often through email or websites that invite the victim to click on links and provide personal information. It is important to remember that the IRS does not contact consumers through email.
Advanced Fee Loan Scam
People who need money may be tempted by the offer of a loan that could help them out of a financial bind. However, there are criminals who will notify a consumer that they have been approved for a loan, but then require payment of a processing fee. To obtain the loan funds, the consumer must pay the fee using a reloadable debit card or by wiring money. After the “fee” is sent, the victim learns there is no loan, and the criminal has disappeared with their money. Always request a copy of the loan contract and review it closely before sending any fees.
Mortgage Relief Scam
Anyone faced with the possibility of losing their home wants to do whatever they can to avoid foreclosure. Unfortunately, there are people out there who prey on those who are in desperate situations. Often, the scammer emails or phones the victim with promises that they can save their home, change the terms of their loan and decrease their monthly payment. They then request payment upfront or ask for personal information as part of the “application process.” Once they have received payment, they disappear, providing no mortgage assistance. Worse, they could use your personal information for identity theft. If you are behind on your mortgage, work directly with your lender or reach out to the Federal Trade Commission for assistance.
Home Improvement Scam
Targets of home improvement scams are often senior citizens. Someone claiming to be a roofer or paver rings the doorbell and mentions that they noticed a problem with the house, either fallen shingles or a need to get rid of “leftover” asphalt from another job. Once the homeowner agrees to allow them to do the work, a number of things can go wrong. In some cases, the workmanship is so substandard, it costs a significant amount of money to repair the damage. In other cases, the “contractor” may request a partial payment upfront, promising to return the next day, yet they never do. One of the worst of these types of scams is an “injury” to one of the workers who then files an extravagant claim against your insurance company. Always investigate any contractor with the Better Business Bureau and demand that they provide copies of licenses as well as contractor numbers before agreeing to any types of work. You can also request copies of all Workers’ Compensation coverage before they begin work.
Romance or Catfish Scam
Lonely people, often senior citizens who have been widowed, try to connect with others through online dating or social media sites. A scammer may befriend them, eventually developing a romantic relationship with the victim. Once the victim is infatuated with them, they begin asking for money, often for medical bills, to purchase a ticket to visit them or another purpose that seems legitimate at first. As time goes on, the person increasingly asks for money while making excuses why they cannot visit, such as legal issues or family emergencies. It is never advisable to give money to someone you meet online that you do not know in order to avoid becoming the victim of this type of scam.
Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Legal Representation For Fraud Scams
If you or a loved one is involved with any fraudulent activity or scam, contact the Khonsari Law Group to learn what rights you may have.