Jimmy Patronis Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, April 6, 2022
SEBRING, FL. – Following the impacts of powerful storms causing severe hail damage to homes and vehicles in Highlands County this week, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis activated and deployed Anti-Fraud Strike Teams to protect residents in the surrounding areas from fraud. CFO Patronis’ anti-fraud teams work to educate and inform the public on signs of fraud and ensure contractors are following all applicable Florida laws while conducting repairs.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “Following any natural disaster, scam artists work overtime to defraud individuals in their time of need and that is why I have deployed my Anti-Fraud Strike Teams Florida to Highlands County to be on the lookout for bad actors trying to make a buck off of the damage caused by these storms. We’ve already gotten reports of contractors in the area pitching roof repairs. From our experience these business-pitches are more about fully replacing roofs rather than normal repairs. We want to eliminate any incentives for illegal acts and that’s why our DIFS team is in the community to deter any fraudulent activity.
These 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 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 teams are made of investigators from the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Investigative and Forensic Services (DIFS). 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.