Episode 113: Avoiding Scams And Fraud

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Here is what you can do to protect yourself for Scams.

If you understand these simple principles you can seriously reduce your chances of being a victim of a Scam or Fraud

Major Companies and corporations never reach out to their customers without the customer contacting them first and they never call after regular business hours.
Enable the Scam filter on your cell phone, and ignore calls marked as possible scams.
Create a scam protection friends list, (Make a list of between 2 and 3 friends) Call friends from the list to help determine if you are being scammed. Remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
If you are  65 years of age or older, consider registering with a protection service; LifeLock, Identity Guard, or Aura.
Set up a password on all your technology and disable auto password filler as well.
Freeze your credit, this prevents anyone from using your personal information to open new credit accounts in your name.
Security your computers, laptops, and tablets, with up-to-date internet security which includes firewall, antispam, and antivirus software.
Set Limits on your social media, and setup a limit on who can and cannot post on your social media.
Verify online stores and keep your online shopping to credible sources.
Never share personal information over the Internet unless you can verify the company or organization


Scams at a glance banner

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s resource for Floridians to use for protection against fraud. Scams at a Glance is an outreach program with information about common and emerging scams. The downloadable brochures are designed to teach consumers how to avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes. The brochures and other information on the website are available in both English and Spanish. Scams highlighted include imposter scams, tech support scams and more. Savvy consumers can stop fraud in its tracks, but they must know what to look for.

Some general signs of common scams include:

• Unsolicited calls or emails;

• High-pressure tactics or too-good-to-be-true offers;

• Threats of loss if immediate action is not taken; and

• Requests for immediate payment by wire transfer, credit, prepaid debit, or gift cards.

Attorney General Moody also works hard to educate Floridians about new and upcoming scams through the Consumer Alert program. Scams at a Glance is another fraud prevention tool to help support Consumer Alerts and bolster consumer knowledge about common scam tactics.

To view recent Consumer Alerts, visit MyFloridaLegal.com/ConsumerAlert.

To report fraud or file a complaint, visit MyFloridaLegal.com or call 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.

To download and print the tri-fold brochures please see below:

Keep Your Cool

HVAC scammers may attempt to exploit consumers’ urgency to repair or replace AC units.

En Español

Robotexts and Robocalls

Spam robotexts are now more prevalent than illegal robocalls—scammers try to steal victim’s personal or financial information with texts that contain malicious links.

En Español

On the Move

It’s important to know what to look out for when hiring moving companies to avoid falling victim to a scam and losing money or personal property.

En Español


With the quick rise in popularity of cryptocurrency, scammers may prey on the unsuspecting.

En Español

Tech Support

Tech support scams are a type of imposter scam, where fraudsters pretend to be a trusted source that can fix a computer in hopes the victim will provide personal or financial information.

En Español

Identity Theft

Unscrupulous scammers may target the military service member community with fraudulent schemes.

En Español

Protect our Patriots

Unscrupulous scammers may target the military service member community with fraudulent schemes.

En Español

Phantom Debt

Annual deductibles in Medicare Advantage plans and stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans vary by what plan you pick and where you live. The government does set a limit on Part D deductibles. That limit is $505 for 2023, compared with $480 in 2022.


Online crime cost Florida residents $844.9 million in 2022, FBI says, 2nd highest in U.S.

C. A. Bridges

The Daytona Beach News-Journal



Be careful what you click on. There are, in fact, many people waiting online to steal your money.

According to a report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) released earlier this year, Florida is a tasty target. Residents of the Sunshine State lost nearly $845 million from scams in 2022, the second-highest amount in the country, with the second-highest number of online crime victims (42,792). California took the lead, with twice as much of both.

The U.S. is the primary market for online scammers, who took over $103 billion in just one year. That’s more victims than the rest of the world combined, even only counting the crimes that were reported to the IC3.

Phishing remains far and away the most common online crime, affecting 300,497 victims in the U.S. and scamming them out of just over $52 million. But in 2022, most of the money taken from Floridians was through cryptocurrency scams and investment fraud.

The top five online crimes reported last year were phishing, personal data breach, non-payment/non-delivery, extortion, and tech support. But the five that took the most money were investment scams, BEC, tech support, personal data breaches, and confidence/romance.

Here’s how scammers are stealing your money, and how to avoid it.https://www.usatodaynetworkservice.com/tangstatic/html/nftu/sf-q1a2z330306dc3.min.html

What is phishing?

“Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers,” according to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice website.

Once they get that information they can use it to get access to your email, your bank, online shopping accounts, and more. Or they can sell it to other scammers.

What does phishing look like?

You might get concerned alerts from your bank, or invoices you don’t recognize for hundreds of dollars with a link to cancel or messages from the government about refunds or penalties. If you click on them, your computer may get loaded with malware or you may be taken to a very realistic-looking site, such as Amazon or your bank. where you’ll be asked to log in.

Now, they have your password.

How they do it:7 secrets hackers don’t want you to know

HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED: Scammers launch thousands of phishing attempts every day. The only way to stay safe is to stay vigilant.

  • Don’t click on any links or downloads in your email unless you are absolutely certain you know what they are. Legitimate companies do not email you with links to update your information. If you get an unexpected attachment from a friend or coworker with a generic-sounding subject line, ask them about it before clicking on anything.
  • Don’t reuse passwords, so if one is stolen scammers can’t get into other accounts.
  • Use security software on your computer.
  • Keep your phone’s software updated to get the latest protection against security threats.
  • Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA). More and more sites are using MFA, which requires you to have more than just a password to get into your account. MFA can mean an additional pin or security question, a physical security key, a scan of your face or fingerprint, or a one-time passcode you get by text, email, or from an authenticator app.
  • Keep your data backed up.

If you get a phishing email you can report it by forwarding it to reportphishing@apwg.org or going to ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Phishing texts can be forwarded to SPAM (7726).

What is a personal data breach?

Sometimes scammers get personal information wholesale by hacking into a database and taking it all, or a company may accidentally expose personal information where it can be publicly viewed. Suddenly lots of people have your personal information and they can use it to get into your accounts or even apply for loans and credit cards.

What does a personal data breach look like?

You won’t know about it unless the company breached announces it, the media reports on it or you suddenly have compromised accounts, or your identity gets stolen. Americans lost $742.4 million through personal data breaches in 2022.

In July 2023, HCA Healthcare announced that 47 hospitals and 180 physicians in Florida were affected by the company’s nationwide data breach.

HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED: If you are alerted that your information may have been part of a data breach, depending on what it was, you need to get ahead of it.

  • If your Social Security number was stolen, immediately contact the credit bureaus to have fraud alerts or credit freezes placed in your reports. You can do this from the FTC’s IndentityTheft.gov site. Try to file your taxes early, before a scammer can.
  • If your login info has been taken from an online account, log in immediately and change your password. If you can’t, contact the company to see how to recover or shut down the account. If that site has your credit card information saved, watch your account for any suspicious charges.
  • If your debit or credit card number was stolen, contact your bank or credit card company to cancel it and request a new one. Watch your charges carefully.
  • If bank account information has been stolen, close the account and open a new one.
  • If your driver’s license information was stolen, contact your local DMV to report it. They may flag the number in case someone tries to use it or issue you a new one.

What are non-payment/non-delivery scams?

“In a non-delivery scam, a buyer pays for goods or services they find online, but those items are never received,” the FTC said. “Conversely, a non-payment scam involves goods or services being shipped, but the seller is never paid.”

What do non-payment/non-delivery scams look like?

Online auctions or sites with products whose prices seem too good to be true, would-be sellers who ask you to wire money directly to them, or pay with pre-paid gift cards. Some unscrupulous buyers create fake one-time accounts to get your merchandise or ask that you use certain methods to ship to avoid customs or taxes. Such scams cost Americans nearly $282 million last year.


  • Pay attention to feedback ratings on auction websites. Avoid sellers with mostly bad ratings or no ratings at all.
  • Verify that the site you’re buying from is legitimate. If the URL does not begin with ‘https,’ do not enter your information.
  • Only use payment methods that are trustworthy and offer consumer protection, such as credit cards, PayPal, or another well-known online service.
  • Always get tracking numbers for anything you buy online.

What are tech support scams?

“Call centers overwhelmingly target the elderly,” the IC3 said, “with devastating effects.”

Two categories of fraud, Tech/Customer Support, and Government Impersonation, account for over $1 billion in stolen money and almost half the victims are over 60.

What do tech support scams look like?

“Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus,” the FTC said, “They want you to pay for tech support services you don’t need, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.”

You may get called by a “computer technician” from a well-known company telling you they’ve found a problem with your computer and need remote access. You might get a pop-up warning when you visit a website, either with a link or a phone number you should call. And they’ll want you to pay with a gift card, cryptocurrency, or by wiring them money.

HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED: Don’t believe them.

  • If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s a problem with your computer, hang up.
  • Don’t trust security warnings on your computer or phone that asks you to call a phone number or click a link.
  • Verify a tech support company before using them. Google the name of the company and the word “scam” to see if anyone has reported them.

What are investment scams?

Cryptocurrency, a type of digital currency that usually only exists electronically, has been growing in use for years. But because it only exists online (and because so many people are confused about what it is and how it works), cryptocurrency can be easy to steal. Cryptocurrency payments do not come with legal protections and they are generally not reversible.

In 2022, investment fraud complaints increased by 127% over 2021, from $1.45 billion to $3.31 billion, according to the IC3. Cryptocurrency investment fraud specifically saw “unprecedented increases in the number of victims and the dollar losses to these investors,” an increase of 183% from $907 million in 2021 to $2.57 billion in 2022.

What do investment scams look like?

You might hear from a friend, a business partner, or even a celebrity promising you amazing investment opportunities and sure-fire, low-risk, guaranteed big payouts. All you have to do is buy cryptocurrency and deposit it into a specific account, or link your existing account to theirs, and then suddenly all your investment money is gone. The most targeted age group reporting this type of scam are victims ages 30 to 49.

Some methods include:

  • Offering big rewards by using liquidity mining (a way to lend assets to a decentralized exchange) that actually hooks the victim’s digital wallet to a fake account that can be wiped out.
  • Hacking someone’s social media account and then contacting all the friends of that person with an amazing offer.
  • Impersonating a celebrity to contact you out of the blue and entice you to invest.
  • Setting up fake, but realistic-looking investment or banking websites to convince you that big money is being thrown around.
  • Meeting people through dating sites, making a connection, and then asking for money or offering investment advice, or just texting random phone numbers and then, after apologizing for the wrong number, starting to talk about investments.
  • Contacting a real estate agent to buy expensive property and then using large, fake bank accounts to convince their target that easy money can be made.

HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED: Don’t trust anyone who approaches you unrequested with promises of making money with zero risk in the crypto markets. And remember that no legitimate business will demand you send cryptocurrency in advance for services or to protect your money.

“Advice and offers to help you invest in cryptocurrency are nothing but scams,” says the FTC.

What is BEC?

Business email compromise scams tend to be more sophisticated than the other methods, but because they’re targeting businesses and using increasingly legitimate-looking methods, BEC scams can steal the most money. In 2022 scammers took over $2.7 billion in the U.S.

What do BEC scams look like?

BEC schemes often involve email addresses with slight variations from a trusted source — a coworker, your boss, a regular vendor — that fool you into thinking they’re legitimate. You might get a request from your company CEO to buy gift cards to send out as employee rewards (just give her the serial numbers, don’t worry, she’ll take care of sending them out). You might get requests from coworkers to give them access to internal systems, or your boss might need a password from you over the weekend.

And they will usually want you to act quickly.

Business email compromise:How scammers siphoned $36B in fraudulent unemployment payments from US


  • Be careful what you share on social media and never mention childhood pet names, schools you attended, your birthday or other information a scammer can use to guess your passwords or security questions.
  • Don’t click on anything in an unsolicited email or text message asking you to click to update or verify account information. Contact the company through other means to verify the request.
  • Carefully examine the email address, URL, and spelling used in any correspondence. Scammers use slight differences to trick you.
  • Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know, especially if it was forwarded to you.
  • Set up two-factor or multifactor authentication on any account you use that has it.
  • Verify payment or account change requests directly with the person apparently making the request.

What is the confidence/romance scam?

If you meet someone online and they seem ideally perfect for you, only they’re out of the country and suddenly need money for a medical emergency or unexpected disaster, you’re probably being scammed. In 2022, over 19,000 Americans were convinced to hand over $735,882,192 to someone they never saw again, assuming they ever saw anybody at all.

“The criminals who carry out romance scams are experts at what they do and will seem genuine, caring, and believable,” the FBI says. “Con artists are present on most dating and social media sites.”

What do confidence or romance scams look like?

Scammers will attempt to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, promising greater attachment in the future, even marriage, and at some point will ask for money, access to your financial accounts, or inappropriate photos they can use to blackmail you.

FBI:Romance scammers swindle vulnerable Sarasota residents out of millions


  • Be careful what you share online. Scammers will use your information to understand you and target you more effectively.
  • Go slowly. Ask lots of questions.
  • Research anyone you meet through a dating site. Do they have a lengthy social media presence? If you do a Google reverse image search on your new person’s photo, do you find different people?
  • Beware if the person tries to get you to leave a dating service or social media app to communicate directly, or attempts to isolate you from friends and family.
  • Does the person always have a reason they can’t meet you in person? If you haven’t met them after a few months, be suspicious.
  • Never send money to anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.

Is any of the money ever retrieved?

Sometimes, but don’t count on it. Out of 2,838 incidents, the IC3 has been able to freeze $433.3 million from loss, out of a total of $590.6 million, generally in cases when the crime was reported before or as money was being transferred.

But the money you already wired to your old Army buddy when you got a text message out of the blue? That’s probably gone.

What do I do if I think I’ve been scammed or I’m getting scammed right now?

If you’ve already paid them or money has been taken out of your bank account, contact your bank or the company that issued your credit or debit card and report an unauthorized charge, debit, or withdrawal. Ask them to reverse the transaction.

If you paid with a gift card, contact the company that issued it, report the scam, and ask for a refund. Keep the card and the gift card receipt.

If you sent a wire transfer, contact the wire transfer company and ask them to reverse it.

  • MoneyGram at 1-800-926-9400
  • Western Union at 1-800-448-1492
  • Ria (non-Walmart transfers) at 1-877-443-1399
  • Ria (Walmart2Walmart and Walmart2World transfers) at 1-855-355-2144

Don’t get fooled:Stay alert against financial scams

If you paid with cryptocurrency, you are probably out of luck. But you can try contacting the company you used to send the money to and ask for a reversal.

If you sent cash, contact the U.S. Postal Service at 877-876-2455, or whatever delivery service you used, report it, and see if they can intercept the package or envelope.

If your scammer has personal information about you, go to IdentifyTheft.gov to see what steps to take. Change your passwords and use strong ones.

If a scammer has access to your computer, update the security software, run a scan, and delete anything it reports as a problem.

If a scammer has control of your phone, contact your service provider.

Report scams to the FTC. Even if they can’t help you with yours, they can use that information to track scammers, build cases against them, and get an idea of how scammers are working in the community. If you’ve been scammed or have spotted one, report it to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Before this new rule, people who signed up for Medicare after they were supposed to — generally within three months of turning 65 — sometimes had to wait two or three months for coverage to kick in. For example, signing up during the general enrollment period (Jan. 1 to March 31) meant waiting for coverage to begin in July.

Beginning in 2023, as long as you apply for Medicare during either the general enrollment period or during a special enrollment period, your coverage will take effect at the beginning of the following month.

People eligible for some of the new special enrollment periods include: individuals who missed their initial enrollment period because they were affected by a natural disaster; and individuals who were given bad information from an employer that led them not to sign up when they were supposed to. In addition, people who no longer qualify for Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income persons, will be able to apply for Medicare during a special enrollment period if they lose their Medicaid coverage. Seshamani said this will be especially important when the COVID-19 public health emergency is lifted. 

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