New Florida Anti-Fraud Initiative Seeks to Make State ‘Fraud Free’

March 18, 2019

Denouncing the state’s current ranking when it comes to consumer scams and insurance abuse, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis has announced a new initiative aimed at reducing fraud in the state.

According to a statement from the Florida Department of Financial Services, the “Fraud Free Florida” initiative will work to better coordinate collective investigative efforts to protect Florida’s large population, especially seniors, from “scam artists.”

“Florida currently ranks first in fraud and second in identity theft nationwide. In 2017, identity theft cost Americans nearly $905 million,” Patronis said. “This is unacceptable, and we must use innovative ways to stay two steps ahead of criminals who want to take your identity, steal money from families who need it, and prey on vulnerable Floridians.”

Fraud Free Florida will bring together statewide law enforcement officials, local state attorneys, private sector stakeholders, and members of CFO Patronis’ fraud investigative teams. The goal will be to help Florida stay ahead of new scams and take on fraud already taking place in the state including: fraud at unscrupulous opioid treatment centers, public assistance fraud, identity theft, and cybersecurity issues.

Patronis noted fraud is especially rampant after every hurricane, when “millions of dollars are stolen as crooks prey on Florida families in their time of need to make a quick buck.”

Fraud Free Florida is part of DFS’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS), which includes the Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) aimed at curbing hurricane-related insurance fraud, as well as the Division of Public Assistance Fraud. DIFS is a statewide law enforcement agency dedicated to rooting out fraud and investigating financial crimes. DFS said Fraud Free Florida will help agencies better collaborate on fraud cases and identify needed law changes.

“I look forward to creating a lasting impact as we go after these criminals and expose scam artists who aim to cheat the system and target hardworking Floridians,” Patronis said.

People can learn more and report fraud and scams at FraudFreeFlorida.com.

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