Media Contact:
Luis Espinoza
espinl@miamidade.gov
305-375-4610

Miami-Dade County warns about new government agency imposter scam

MIAMI (June 10, 2016)

The Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER) advises the community of a new government agency imposter scam that is making its way around the County. If someone believes they have fallen for this scam, they should contact RER’s Office of Consumer Protection at 786-469-2333 for assistance.

How the scam works:
A person will receive a phone call from someone claiming to work for “consumer affairs” and may mention that they are working in conjunction with another government employee or agency. The imposter will state that several companies are under investigation for unethical practices by the government – usually a company that the victim has filed a complaint against sometime in the recent past. He or she will then claim that the victim is eligible to recover money for a travel package, timeshare or other travel-related product, but only if the victim first transfers money or provides a pre-paid credit/gift card for a “per claim notary fee,” “application fee,” or similar fee required to obtain the “refund.”

The public is reminded that if one owes the government a debt or is due restitution as part of a government investigation, the government will make contact in writing first, not by phone. In addition, government agencies will never demand payment of a debt or fee by wire transfer or pre-paid credit/gift card, and in Florida, neither courts nor local sheriff departments are debt collectors.

The most important steps in protecting against imposter scams are to never give the caller any personal information or send any money to any person or address provided by the caller – whether by transfer, pre-paid credit/gift card or money order. Other steps one can take:
• Ask the caller for more information or details and then contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 786-469-2333 or consumer@miamidade.gov for assistance.
• File a complaint with the FTC.
• File a complaint with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
• Place phone number(s) on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) National Do Not Call Registry and the Florida Do Not Call List.
• Visit the FTC’s website to learn more about how to protect personal information and prevent identity theft.
For more tips on preventing consumer scams, visit the Office of Consumer Protection.