As Third Stimulus Payment Arrive, Florida Authorities Warn Consumers of Fraud and Scams
Earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that it started processing the third round of Economic Impact Payments (stimulus payments). Many people in Florida are eligible for a $1,400 payment from the federal government.
On March 15th, 2021, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) released a warning encouraging people and families to watch out for stimulus-related frauds and scams. State officials are concerned that there may be an uptick in attempted fraud, as unscrupulous parties target stimulus funds.
Here, our Miami FDUTPA claims attorneys provide an overview of fraud warnings from state authorities and explain how the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act can help you protect your rights.
Consumer Alert: Beware of Stimulus-Related Scams
March is fraud prevention month in Florida. With federal government financial assistance arriving for many, authorities are concerned that there may be an unusually large number of fraud attempts this year. Florida regulators are offering the following three anti-fraud tips for consumers:
- Never pay anything “upfront” to access your stimulus check. Any person or institution asking for a “deposit” is conducting a scam.
- Do not provide sensitive financial information—credit card number, bank account number, Social Security number, etc.—over phone, text, or email. The IRS is not actively soliciting this information through these mechanisms to process stimulus checks. Use the agency’s official website.
- Report any suspected fraud immediately. FraudFreeFlorida.com brings consumers to our state’s fraud reporting website.
The FDUTPA Protects Consumers Against Deceptive and Unfair Commercial Practices
In many cases, fraud is committed by criminals and scammers. Beyond reporting the issue to state regulators, it may be a matter for law enforcement. In other cases, consumers are scammed out of their money by “legitimate” businesses that are using illegitimate practices, such as deception or false advertising. There is some concern that the third round of stimulus checks could lead to a rise in fraudulent and deceptive practices by businesses.
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) helps to protect consumers. Under the FDUTPA, you can take action to recover financial compensation for losses caused by the deceptive or unfair practices of a commercial entity. As an example, imagine that you wanted to use your stimulus money to help fund long-needed home repairs. You hire a contractor to do the work. Unfortunately, the contractor uses a ‘bait-and-switch’ sales tactic, and you find yourself on the hook paying for something you do not want. You may have a claim for compensation under the FDUTPA.
Speak to an FDUTPA Attorney in Southeastern Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Miami deceptive & unfair trade practices lawyers have extensive experience handling a wide range of cases, including claims arising under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA). We will get you justice and fair financial compensation. Call us now to schedule a confidential consultation with an attorney. From our offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we represent fraud victims throughout all of South Florida.