Tallahassee, Fla. -The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) is reminding families to be aware of financial scams this month.
OFR released a top five list of financial scams reported to them: tax-refund fraud, advance fee loan scam, timeshare resale telemarketing fraud, affinity fraud and ponzi schemes.
Tax-Refund Fraud- OFR said often the scammer will file a fake tax return using a stolen identity, and arrange to have the money electronically transferred to them or a check mailed to them. By the time the victim files his/her tax return, the scammer has disappeared with the person’s refund money.
Advance Fee Loan Scam- In this type of scam, the victim is told that they qualify for a loan, but they must pay a fee to process the application. OFR said often people are told to pay the fee using a re-loadable debit card or to wire money. After the victim sends the money, the scammer takes off and the person does not receive a loan.
Timeshare Resale Telemarketing Fraud- Scammers will reach out to timeshare owners and offer marketing services. The scammer will charge a fee, which they claim will be refunded after the sale; however, the property is never sold and the scammer leaves with the owner’s money.
Affinity Fraud- OFR said this investment fraud normally targets ethnic, religious and professional groups. The scammer will pitch a fake investment opportunity, preying on the trust inside many of these groups. Often, the scammer is part of the group.
Ponzi Scheme- In this investment fraud, the scammer often lures new victims by promising high returns with little to no risk. However, the scam collapses when they cannot recruit new investors to pay ‘returns’ to the previous investors.
If you feel you have been a victim of fraud or to report suspicious activity, please file a complaint with the OFR online or call (850) 487-9687.