By Ken Kleinlein
ENGLEWOOD, Fla. – State Rep. Ray Pilon, a former law enforcement officer and candidate for the State Senate, forwarded this information to Crime Scene.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Florida Attorney General have issued consumer alerts warning Floridians and visitors of an ongoing scam offering fraudulent promotional vacation packages. The travel industry has reported a sharp increase in the number of complaints related to fraudulent Florida vacation packages. Be wary of robo calls, emails or faxes offering promotional vacation packages purported to have been offered by legitimate travel agencies, such as Expedia, Travelocity, TripAdvisor and others.
Consumers should be cautious when receiving unsolicited phone calls or emails saying that they’ve won a “special promotion” or free luxury vacation. An educated consumer is the best defense against fraud and deception. Consumers are encouraged to access tips and resources at FreshFromFlorida.com.
Consumers can protect themselves against travel/vacation scams with the following tips:
As the state’s clearinghouse for consumer complaints, Consumer Services 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 who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 800-HELP-FLA (435−7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 800-FL-AYUDA (352−9832). For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.
Summer will be here shortly and the weather is already turning warm – time to check and service your air conditioning. The majority of A/C services are legitimate and adhere to regulations. A small percentage do not.
Recently, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi obtained a temporary injunction to shut down air conditioning service schemes. Some companies were using false claims, intimidation and scare tactics to coerce consumers into purchasing expensive air conditioning parts and services that were not needed or rendered. The scheme cost consumers millions of dollars.
The defendants allegedly used bait-and-switch tactics, enticing consumers with offers of massively discounted air conditioning services but then convincing them to sign up for much higher-priced services. The defendants used weekly mailers and online ads to advertise air duct cleaning services, often for less than $20. Air duct cleaning services typically cost between $450 and $1,000. Once consumers signed up for these services, a representative of the companies visited the consumer’s home and attempted to sell other, more expensive services.
To view the complaint, click here.
To view the temporary injunction, click here.
Before buying get a second opinion if you suspect that an A/C service provider may be giving you false information, or contact the Attorney General’s office at 866 966‑7226, or MyFlordiaLegal.com
Take care, be careful, and I’ll see you at the next Crime Scene.
God Bless and protect our military, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and EMT’s.
Happy Birthday Eva and Linda.
Ken Kleinlein is a former detective with the NYPD special frauds squad, coordinating with local, state, and federal law enforcement along with accredited security firms, on matters of crime prevention and public information.
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