Consumer Fraud Watch: Medical Marijuana Scam
On April 19th, 2017, the Florida Department of Health issued an official warning to all consumers in the state regarding an alarming increase in reports of ‘medical marijuana’ scams. Under Florida law, medical marijuana can only be legally used by state residents who have obtained a valid identification card from the state’s Office of Compassionate Use. Reports from around the state indicate that scammers are now calling consumers, claiming to be representatives from this agency, in order to get financial information from them. This information is used to commit credit card fraud.
The Office of Compassionate Use Will Never Ask for Credit Card Information
Officials from the Florida Department of Health want to make the following information clear to consumers: the Office of Compassionate Use does not seek credit card information over the phone. In fact, this agency does not currently accept credit card payments at all. Additionally, consumers should know that the Office of Compassionate Use is the only entity that can issue medical marijuana identification cards. Applicants must work directly with the agency in order to get an ID card, no third party private companies play any role in this process.
Dealing With Consumer Fraud
Becoming a victim of fraud can be extremely unnerving. Beyond the financial losses, you may also feel violated and left uneasy. Fraud victims need to fight back. By taking action, you may be able to work to recover financial compensation, prevent any further losses, and, hopefully, help to put a stop to the fraud scheme. More specifically, fraud victims should follow this three step process:
- File a report: Consumer fraud should be reported to the appropriate authorities. You can report fraud to the Florida Attorney General’s office by calling 1-866-966-7226, or to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by reaching out to 1-800-435-7352. After reviewing your claim, these agencies may also advise you to report the issue to federal authorities.
- Protect yourself: Next, once you become aware of the fraud, particularly if a scammer got access to your credit card number, or other critical personal identifying information, you need to contact one of the major credit bureaus. When you do this, you can request a fraud alert. This will help you block any additional scam attempts. Then, you can get a free copy of your credit history to get a full view of the problem.
- Contact a lawyer: Finally, if you sustained significant financial losses, you should seek professional legal assistance. Your consumer fraud lawyer will be able to comprehensively review the specific facts of your case to determine what needs to be done to help you seek justice and fair compensation.
Request Your Free Legal Consultation Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our dedicated consumer fraud lawyers have helped many victims recover fair compensation for their losses. If you were a victim of fraud, please contact our team today for immediate legal assistance. From our offices in West Palm Beach and Miami, we serve fraud victims throughout South Florida, including in Broward County and Dade County.