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How Do I Protect Myself Against Consumer Fraud?

Written on December 5, 2018

Fraudsters swindle millions of US consumers every year, using elaborate schemes and new technology to lure people to release their personal information or send money. They can be so convincing that it is difficult to identify valid and bogus transactions. The Federal Trade Commission offers a free scam alert service that may be useful in pinpointing fraudulent communications, but there are additional ways you can protect yourself from consumer fraud. Safeguard your financial interests by following these tips and consulting with a Clearwater consumer fraud and collections lawyer if you do suffer losses.

Spot Crooks

Imposters often pose as people you trust, such as government employees, charity volunteers, a family member, or a business partner. If you did nothing to initiate the contact, you should always be suspicious of any communications. At one time, phone calls were the primary way channel for consumer fraud. These days, be wary of any message through text, fax, email, or social media.

Do Your Homework

Before turning over any funds or information, get online and do some research regarding the company that contacted you. Use the entity’s name in connection with keywords like “complaint,” “fraud,” or “scam.” Go over the search results carefully to determine whether the company is legitimate.

Never Deposit an Unsolicited Check

If someone sends you a check, you usually expect it in connection with personal or business transactions. When you receive one under questionable circumstances or from someone you do not know, do not cash it. By obtaining any funds from the check, you could enter into an unintended financial relationship with the sender. There are usually conditions attached and you could go through considerable hassles to get out of the contractual relationship.

Hang Up on Electronic Phone Calls

Robocalls are illegal, but the laws do not stop all fraudsters from employing them. If you pick up the phone to an electronic sales message, hang up immediately. Avoid any instructions provided in the message, as any interaction – even pressing a button to end the call – could lead to additional communications.

Listen to Your Gut

When in doubt, let your instincts guide you. If a transaction, message, request, demand, or other exchange seems dubious, it probably is some type of consumer scam. You can also talk to family members, friends, co-workers, and other individuals you trust. These people can be effective resources if you are not comfortable with searching the internet. A lawyer is also a valuable asset, so consider consulting with a legal professional who can do the research and take action as necessary to protect your rights.

Get Legal Help from a Florida Consumer Fraud and Collections Attorney

If you have questions about a suspicious transaction or communication that may point to consumer fraud, our team at Clearwater Business Law can help. Our Florida business litigation lawyers are knowledgeable in the various scams fraudsters use to cheat people out of money or obtain valuable personal information. Please contact our office at (727) 785-5100 to schedule a consultation. We serve consumers in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and throughout Pinellas County, FL, and we look forward to working with you.

TESTIMONIALS

I strongly endorse Andrew Mongelluzzi. He is a very skilled and able business attorney focused on customer service and results. On the front end, Andrew deftly advises new businesses on organizing properly, acquiring necessary licenses, contracting with vendors & customers, and dealing with various compliance issues that may arise. On the back end when things go south, Andrew counsels and navigates businesses through complex commercial disputes and aggressively represents them in negotiations, mediation, arbitration, and in litigation so that businesses can legally move on and get back to business. Andrew’s ability to identify legal issues and approaches to resolve business-related issues is a strength that I have learned from and professionally relied upon in approaching the business matters and cases that I handle. I regularly refer business to Andrew knowing that he will diligently represent his business clients and their best interests.
Relationship: worked together on matter

- Frank N. Genco, Florida Bar No. 440086

Attorney Mongelluzzi and his team provided excellent and quality service. I always felt that my needs were met and that the firm was invested in me and my case. The quality services I received at Mongelluzzi’s firm were remarkable. From the initial meeting they were responsive to my calls, questions and concerns. All issues were handled professionally and timely, easily accessible, got back to me quickly, aggressive and got me the results that I wanted. Attorney Mongelluzzi and his staff all gave my case their personal attention and provided the quality of work that anyone would want when hiring an attorney.

- Client

Andrew is very thorough defining the outcome expectations. In my case, it was setting up a new corporate entity. He advised me on the most beneficial option and he then executed on that path. Andrew is a very pleasant person to work with. He is determined, skilled and committed to his client’s success.

- Gil Pinney

Andrew helped me through a difficult situation with American Express and we won the case. A great job by Andrew! He also helped me with T&C’s in my company. I would recommend Andrew highly as an attorney.

- John Sams

As a business owner for 12 years I have seen my fair share of ups and downs. Some of the downs would include landlord/tenant disputes and creditors that may have not been fulfilled to agreement. Andrew has met both of these situations for me in a timely, positive, and affordable manner.

- Rich Mattes

It was very nice to have a lawyer who not only is fierce in negotiations but has been successful in business. This is a lethal combination. I was glad he was on my side.

- Nigel Castanheiro

Andrew helped me with a contract litigation case. The lawyers battled it out for over a year and we finally got a reasonable settlement offer. Then the other side tried to back out. Andrew figured out how to force the other side to honor the deal and really knows his way around the court system. Definitely feel comfortable using him again.

- John Ellis

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