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**CONSUMER ALERT** CFO Jimmy Patronis: Protect Yourself from Cyber Monday Fraud & Scams

11/30/2020

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 27, 2020
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842
 
**CONSUMER ALERT**
CFO Jimmy Patronis: Protect Yourself from Cyber Monday Fraud & Scams
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With Cyber Monday approaching, online shoppers are projected to spend a record $13 billion and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is warning consumers to beware of Cyber Monday fraud & scams. According to the Better Business Bureau, 80.5 percent of consumers reporting online purchase scams in 2020, lost money.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “This year, online shoppers are projected to spend $189 billion nationwide in November and December alone. This would set a new online sales record as the COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt driven more people to online shopping than we’ve ever seen before. Unfortunately, Cyber Monday provides the perfect environment for cyber criminals because many shoppers have their guard down due to their expectation of good deals. We all enjoy the convenience of online and mobile shopping, but it’s important for Floridians to shop smart. Be alert, monitor your financial accounts for fraudulent activity, and always verify before you buy.”
 
BBB offers these tips for safe online shopping:
 
• Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online but be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you are shopping with a legitimate site. If the site is missing contact information, that is a red flag. Check out retailers at BBB.org before you shop.

• Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.

• Be a savvy shopper. When shopping online, be sure to take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have restocking fees. Some items cannot be returned; know before you buy.

• Protect personal information. Read a site’s privacy policy and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If a site doesn’t have a privacy policy, that’s a big red flag that it may be a scam.

• Think before you click. Be especially cautious about email solicitations and online ads on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals or trendy clothing that don’t measure up to the promotional hype.

• Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs, or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly charge. Look for and read the fine print.
To report fraud or learn about ways to protect yourself from scams, visit it at FraudFreeFlorida.com.
 
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About CFO Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is a statewide elected official and a member of Florida’s Cabinet who oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Patronis works each day to fight insurance fraud, support Florida’s firefighters, and ensure the state’s finances are stable to support economic growth in the state. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).