Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 309 • Oct. 7, 2016
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing

Hurricane Matthew is moving up our east coast and some projections predict it could reenter Florida next week. I urge Floridians to remain vigilant, heed warnings from emergency workers and be prepared with water, food and fuel.

My Price Gouging Hotline remains open during this declared state of emergency, and I am working closely with investigators to stop gouging. State law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, ice, gas, and water during a declared state of emergency. Anyone who suspects price gouging should call my office immediately at 866-9-NO-SCAM or go to MyFloridaLegal.com and fill out a price gouging complaint.

Consumers should also beware of storm related scams that may emerge in the aftermath of Matthew. Following a storm, repairmen are in high demand, making conditions ideal for debris removal and home repair scams. If your home recently suffered water or tree damage and someone shows up at your front door claiming they can repair the damage or remove downed limbs, make sure they are licensed and insured. Obtain multiple estimates, check references and never give final payment before the work is completed.

Charity scams can also emerge following a disaster. Matthew has already claimed lives and destroyed communities and many good-hearted people want to help. My office is working diligently to make sure donations go to those who truly need help and to stop scammers using the disaster to prey on the good intentions of others.

This weekend, please check on family members and friends to ensure loved ones are safe, especially older friends and neighbors. Scammers often use disasters to take advantage of seniors who may not be able to remove even small debris from their property. Working together we can recover from Matthew and keep our communities safe.

In the News
Authorities warn of scammers finding opportunity in Hurricane Matthew, Local 10
Price gouging hotline activated due to Hurricane Matthew, WPTV

AG continues Hermine price gouging probes, Tallahassee Democrat

Deadly drug "Pinky" now illegal, WJHG


Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Bondi Secures Millions for Florida Consumers and Service Members
Attorney General Pam Bondi, joined by 49 other attorneys general, announced a settlement with retailer USA Discounters, also doing business as USA Living and Fletcher’s Jewelers, to resolve allegations of deceptive trade practices against the company. More than $4 million in restitution will go to consumers in Florida. This settlement is expected to impact almost 3,000 Floridians.

“This multistate settlement secures millions of dollars in restitution for consumers, including our military members in Florida and across the country,” said Attorney General Bondi. “Thanks to the joint efforts of my office and 49 other attorneys general, military consumers are better protected.” More.



Attorney General Bondi Works with GoFundMe to Warn Against Hurricane Related Charity Scams

As Hurricane Matthew continues to wreak havoc leaving destruction in its path, Attorney General Pam Bondi and GoFundMe are working to ensure donations meant to help victims of Matthew are actually going to those affected by the Hurricane and not to scammers.

This week, and in the weeks following this disaster, the Florida Attorney General’s Office will be looking into charities promising relief to victims of the storm and working with GoFundMe to ensure any new accounts set up through the crowdfunding platform are used to assist victims and rebuild communities.
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Events
Attorney General Pam Bondi speaking to members of Florida Citizens for Social Reform about her efforts to combat drug abuse and human trafficking in Florida.

Attorney General Bondi, on NBC's Today Show, talking about price gouging and asking consumers to remain vigilant when preparing for the storm or purchasing products and services in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.





Attorney General Bondi, on WTXL ABC 27, warning Floridians about price gouging and other storm-related scams connected to Hurricane Matthew. To watch the story from WTXL ABC 27, click here.

Unfortunately, Florida’s Fifth Annual Human Trafficking Summit, which was scheduled for Monday, has been canceled due to Hurricane Matthew. For more information please email OAGHT.Summit@myfloridalegal.com.