National Consumer Protection Week
Commissioner Adam H. Putnam Provides Tips to Consumers During National Consumer Protection Week
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is providing tips to consumers during National Consumer Protection Week, a coordinated, nationwide effort to educate consumers on how to protect themselves from scams. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received more than 38,000 consumer complaints and recovered more than $3 million on behalf of Florida consumers last year.
“Floridians are all too often the targets of fraud and scams,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “An informed consumer is the best defense against fraud and deception, and consumers can access various resources and tips atFreshFromFlorida.com to help defend themselves.”
The department provides numerous resources for consumers, including the following:
Events will be held in Pinellas and Miami-Dade counties to educate consumers about frauds and scams and to provide them with information about how the department can help.
The department is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to assist consumers with gathering information about businesses, charities or other organizations. The department can also help consumers file a complaint if they feel they have been taken advantage of. Call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).
The department's website also has a Live Chat function available to assist consumers with information and complaints. Click “Live Chat” from the department's home page at FreshFromFlorida.com.
The Little Black Book of Scams provides tips on avoiding charity scams, identity theft, tax scams, foreign lotteries and more.
Consumers who are planning on donating money to charity should research in the Gift Givers' Guide. This will help consumers know how much each charity gives to its cause.
Consumers who are receiving unwanted sales calls at home should sign up for the state's Do Not Call list. It only takes one minute, and it is free.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state's clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection and information. The call center is staffed with trained analysts who can respond to questions about programs and regulations under the department's purview, provide information on a wide variety of topics or direct callers to the appropriate government agency. Consumers can get tips or file a complaint at FreshFromFlorida.com.
Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department's consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).