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CFO Jimmy Patronis Deploys Anti-Fraud Strike Team to Southwest Florida Following Tornado Damage

1/19/2022

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Contact: Office of Communications, Communications@MyFloridaCFO.com, 850.413.2842
CFO Jimmy Patronis Deploys Anti-Fraud Strike Team to Southwest Florida Following Tornado Damage

FT. MYERS, Fla. – Following the impacts of powerful storms and tornados causing severe damage to homes in Southwest Florida, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis activated and deployed his Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) to protect Southwest Florida residents from fraud. The DFAST deployment consists of eight insurance fraud and workers’ compensation investigators positioned in the tornado impacted areas including Lee, Collier, and Charlotte counties. CFO Patronis’ anti-fraud teams work to educate and inform the public on signs of fraud and ensure contractors are following Florida workers’ compensation law while conducting repairs. Additionally, yesterday, CFO Patronis highlighted important storm recovery resources for Southwest Florida residents.

CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Following a natural disaster, scam artists work overtime to defraud individuals in their time of need and that is why I have deployed my Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team to Southwest Florida to be on the lookout for bad actors trying to make a buck off of the damage caused by the devastating tornados that took place over the weekend. These anti-fraud strike teams consist of trained insurance fraud investigators with specialized knowledge of property and casualty fraud and workers’ compensation fraud that will be on the ground today in the impacted areas of Southwest Florida to ensure residents can recover quickly and lawbreakers are held responsible. It’s vital that consumers know the warning signs of fraud and if you or a loved one believes they have fallen victim to a scam, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com.”

These strike team is made up of investigators working for the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. They are trained insurance fraud investigators with specialized knowledge of property and casualty fraud and workers’ compensation fraud. In addition to identifying active fraud operations in the field, investigators will work with each community to educate homeowners, homeowners’ associations and local law enforcement about the red flags of fraud.

Indicators of Storm-Related Fraud:

1. A contractor or restoration professional who offered to waive or discount your insurance deductible.
2. A contractor or restoration professional that has received payment and has failed to provide any repairs to your home.
3. A contractor or restoration professional who offered to provide repairs at a cash-only discounted rate and has failed to provide repairs to your home.
4. A contractor or restoration professional who pressured you to sign an AOB and has failed to provide any repairs to your home or stopped responding to your contact attempts.

To report suspected fraud, call the Department’s toll-free Fraud Tip Hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or visit 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).