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CFO Jimmy Patronis: Protect Your Identity this Holiday Season

12/17/2021

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In recognition of December as Identity Theft Prevention Month, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis is providing Floridians with tips on how to protect yourself against identity theft this holiday season. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 101,372 reports of identity theft in Florida in 2020, a roughly 56% increase from 2019.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “As the holiday season is upon us, Floridians must stay vigilant and know the warning signs of scams and identity theft. When your financial information gets into the wrong hands, the consequences could be devastating, and that’s the last thing Floridians need to worry about during the holidays. There are many ways to protect yourself from ID theft on a daily basis, from taking precautions while online to checking your credit report periodically. This holiday season, if you feel you've been scammed, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com and always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Tips to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

1. Protect documents that have personal information. Keep your financial records, Social Security and Medicare cards, and any other documents that have personal information in a safe place.
2. Be Careful with Your Social Security Number. Your social security number is a major target for identity thieves because it can give them access to your credit report and bank accounts. Never carry your card with you. Instead, memorize your number and keep the card in a secure place at home or in a safe deposit box. Never write or print your social security number on checks.
3. Protect your information from scammers online and on your phone. Add multi-factor authentication for accounts that offer it. Multi-factor authentication offers extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account.
4. Secure Your Mail. Empty your mailbox quickly and get a mailbox lock. When mailing bill payments and checks, consider dropping them off at the post office or a secure mailbox.
5. Check Your Credit Report. At least once a year, obtain and review your credit report for suspicious activity. You can request a free copy of your report at www.annualcreditreport.com or by contacting any one of the three major credit reporting agencies.

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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).