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CFO Jimmy Patronis Consumer Alert: Beware of GoFundMe

2/7/2022


~Threatens to use Subpoena Authority if Refunds Are Not Processed~
 
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) & State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis warns Florida consumers who contribute to GoFundMe accounts to be on guard and ensure your donations are being used for the purpose you intend. In wake of recent news that GoFundMe threatened to redistribute money from Canadian Truckers and reports of fraud related to the Surfside tragedy, CFO Patronis urges Floridians to reconsider donating to GoFundMe campaigns and offers resources for those looking to recoup their donations.
 
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “What we’ve seen recently from GoFundMe smells an awful lot like fraud and we will not stand for it in Florida. At Surfside, they had to shut down fraudulent accounts, which diverted cash from grieving families and now they are backtracking after threatening to divert more than $10 million in legitimate donations to Canadian truckers. This doesn’t just smell fishy, it downright stinks. It shouldn’t take the threat of legal action from myself or Governor DeSantis to stop these unethical actions. Transparency is always a good policy and GoFundMe doesn’t practice it at all. They are choosing sides and holding consumers money hostage.
 
“GoFundMe is legally obligated to return any funds that were not used for the purposes stated. If you are having issues receiving a refund, call my consumer helpline and we’ll assist. My fraud investigators also have the power to subpoena GoFundMe on behalf of Floridians if necessary. This is your money and it should go to the causes you support and not into the pockets of some Tech CEO’s choosing.”
 
In October 2021, the CFO sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission regarding fraud concerns related to GoFundMe campaigns and the Surfside tragedy. CFO Jimmy Patronis’ consumer helpline stands ready to assist Florida consumers with GoFundMe related issues, call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (693-5236) to speak to a specialist Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Out-of-State callers please dial (850) 413-3089.
 
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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).