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CFO Jimmy Patronis is sending a team of insurance fraud investigators to Leon and Gadsden counties

Trees knocked down in front of an apartment complex.
Lydell Rawls
/
WFSU Public Media
Mystic Woods Condos is an apartment community located in Leon County. The storm on Friday, May 10, 2024, knocked down trees and powerlines, causing major damage to several homes. FILE—May 14, 2024 (WFSU Public Media)

“The bad actors and scam artists will swoop in and try to take advantage of people at their most vulnerable time."

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is activating a team of insurance fraud investigators.

The Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team (DFAST) is heading to Leon and Gadsden counties after tornadoes hit the area. Patronis announced Saturday that the initiative will help protect storm victims from scammers.

“Just minutes after a storm, the bad actors and scam artists will swoop in and try to take advantage of people at their most vulnerable time," Patronis said.

A tree trunk fallen into a second-story apartment in an apartment complex. Another tree is fallen in front of the apartment building.
WFSU / WFSU Public Media
/
WFSU Public Media
Mystic Woods Condos is an apartment community located in Leon County. The storm on Friday, May 10, 2024, knocked down trees and powerlines, causing major damage to several homes. FILE—May 14, 2024 (Lydell Rawls/WFSU Public Media)

The strike team will educate the public about the signs of possible fraud. It will also monitor contractors to ensure they follow Florida’s workers’ compensation law while conducting repairs.

“Anyone offering to provide you help for cash, please tell them no thank you," said Patronis. "Any type of transaction of that nature, is not reimbursable by your insurance company.”

CFO Patronis also urges residents across the Panhandle and Big Bend impacted by severe weather to contact the Division of Consumer.

Common Indicators of Post-Storm Fraud include:

  • A contractor, service provider (i.e., tree removal or debris removal company, etc.), or restoration professional who offered to waive or discount your insurance deductible.
  • A contractor, service provider, or restoration professional that has received payment and has failed to provide any repairs to your home.
  • A contractor, service provider, or restoration professional who offered to provide repairs at a cash-only discounted rate and has failed to provide repairs to your home.
  • A contractor, service provider, or restoration professional who pressured you to sign an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) and has failed to provide any repairs to your home or stopped responding to your contact attempts.

Suspected fraud can be reported through the toll-free Fraud Tip Hotline at 1-800-378-0445 or at MyFloridaCFO.com.

Copyright 2024 WFSU

Adrian Andrews
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