Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Tax season is here and so are IRS imposter scams. These crimes are devastating and result in victims facing years of financial hardships. In recognition of Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, I launched a Twitter campaign highlighting important tips Floridians should take to prevent becoming victims of tax identity theft. I encourage everyone to educate themselves on tax-related scams.
To help prevent tax identity theft follow these steps:
Tax identity theft is the most common form of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission but with proper preparation you can guard against these scams.
- Shred all documents that contain private information before disposing of them;
- Mail returns directly from the post office;
- File tax returns as early as possible. Procrastinating may cause a greater risk of tax identity theft;
- Notify the IRS ID Theft Protection Specialized Unit at 1(800) 908-4490 if you suspect tax identity theft. Also report any identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov;
- Watch out for IRS imposters. The IRS will not initially contact you by email, text message or social media. If the IRS needs information they will ask by mail; and
- Get an IRS Identity Protection Pin at IRS.gov/getanIPPIN.
Veterans Foundation Director Arrested for Grand Theft of Items Intended for Homeless Veterans
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced the arrest of Antonio Colmenares, 57, and Antonio Sabatier, 60, for grand theft of more than $300,000 worth of donated items intended for homeless veterans. The defendants, both of Miami, took advantage of a nonprofit, Florida Veterans Foundation, that offers support to the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs. Colmenares, volunteered as the Miami director for the foundation.
“These donated items should have gone to help feed and warm veterans struggling to get back on their feet—instead they were sold to fatten the pockets of those charged with preying on the good intentions of others,” said Attorney General Bondi. “I want to thank FDLE for their tireless efforts investigating this case and working with my Office of Statewide Prosecution. I also want to commend the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs for immediately contacting law enforcement about the alleged theft so an investigation could be opened.” More.
More than 300 Floridians to Receive Refund Checks for Tech Support Scam
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that more than 300 Floridians affected by a tech support scam will receive refund checks. Checks, amounting to more than $53,000, will be mailed to the victims of the scam involving major tech companies tricking consumers into buying tech support services and products.
The FTC will be sending the checks, averaging $176, to the victims. The checks will expire after 60 days. The Attorney General’s Office urges Floridians to cash or deposit the checks before they expire. In addition, the Attorney General wants consumers to beware of anyone who contacts them by telephone to purportedly offer a refund and/or seeking any personal information, such as bank account information, to effectuate the receipt of a refund related to this case.
To read more about the settlement, click here.
Social Media Identity Theft Complaint Contact Form
The Florida Attorney General’s Office is investigating recent allegations of social media identity theft involving West Palm Beach Company Devumi and related company Bytion. If you or someone you know has had their identity stolen and used to create a fake social media profile on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or any other social media platform please file a complaint with our office using the form here.
Pensacola Resident Arrested for Exploiting the Elderly to Fund Vacations
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Pensacola man for exploiting an elderly victim and using funds for vacations to Baton Rouge, La. and Las Vegas, Nev. Steven McAroy, 44, acted in a position of trust for the victim and signed all financial documents while the victim resided in a long-term care facility.
Throughout the investigation, MFCU’s Digital Evidence Recovery Unit recovered records of McAroy’s transfer and removal of funds in both cities along with multiple transactions during a five-month period in 2015. McAroy allegedly transferred and removed more than $13,000 from the victim.. More.
Attorney General Pam Bondi meeting with Florida’s great partners in combating human trafficking, the Florida Trucking Association.
Attorney General Bondi welcoming students from South Sumter High School. These devoted students were in Tallahassee representing Future Farmers of America for “AG on the Hill Day” at the capitol.
Attorney General Bondi and Miami-Dade School Board member Lubby Navarro discussing the national opioid crisis and its effect on Florida’s students.
Attorney General Bondi speaking with elected local officials from Fernandina Beach about the opioid crisis. Vice Mayor Len Kreger, City Manager Dale Martin, City Attorney Tammy Bach, along with Buddy Jacobs.
Attorney General Bondi greeting members of the Palm Beach Diocese visiting the Capitol for Catholic Days.
Attorney General Bondi catching up with good friends Arty and Mary Wood from Plant City visiting Tallahassee for Catholic Days.
Attorney General Bondi congratulates Special Counsel to the Attorney General and Director of Legislative Affairs, Cabinet Affairs and Public Policy, Andrew Fay on the appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission.