TALLAHASSEE, FL (April 6, 2016) — The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recovered nearly $200,000 for Floridians during the month of March. As the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, the department educates the public, investigates complaints and provides mediation on behalf of consumers. The department recovered nearly $3 million for Florida consumers last year from moving companies, vehicle repair shops, pawn shops, health studios, telemarketers, sellers of travel and more.
“Consumers should always be cautious when receiving unsolicited phone calls or emails requesting financial or personal information,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “One of our top priorities is to protect residents and visitors from scams, and I am proud of the department’s success in restoring $200,000 to hard-working citizens.”
During the month of March, the department:
- Recovered $199,154 on behalf of Florida consumers;
- Received 3,609 complaints;
- Initiated 224 investigations;
- Arrested 12 individuals;
- Provided assistance to 20,151 consumers through the 1-800-HELP-FLA hotline, online chats and emails; and
- Added 15,299 telephone numbers to Florida’s Do Not Call List. Currently, there are more than 960,000 numbers on the list.
The department’s 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 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).
PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services