Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 371 • Dec. 15, 2017
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing


Three months ago this week, Florida was in a state of emergency as Hurricane Irma tore through the state. I activated the Price Gouging Hotline and my consumer protection investigators were working overtime to stop gouging so Floridians could afford the supplies they desperately needed.

People in the path of the storm lined up at gas stations to buy fuel so they could evacuate. Those who couldn’t leave rushed to hardware stores to purchase plywood to board up their homes. Families packed into grocery stores in search of bottled water and canned food—preparing for days without electricity.

Some businesses tried to take advantage of the surge in demand by drastically raising prices on essential storm-related commodities. My office responded, extending call center hours, pulling staff and resources from other divisions to work price gouging complaints and speaking with consumers throughout the event and late into the night.

Before, during and after the storm, our investigators visited hundreds of businesses and called companies accused of price gouging. I personally called executives at airlines, hotels and major retailers; and they responded—capping prices, waiving fees and shipping additional supplies like plywood and water to the areas hardest hit.

Now I am proud to announce consumers will receive restitution after my office investigated and settled the first (of many) cases related to Hurricane Irma. We are also in a position to announce nearly a dozen additional active investigations. In addition, countless other cases are still under review because price gouging investigations are time and labor-intensive. We will stand up for consumers and go after anyone who takes advantage of Floridians in their time of need.

In the News
Attorney General Bondi warns parents about internet-connected toys, WCTV
What personal information can 'smart' toys really learn about you?, NBC-2

GUARD YOURSELF AGAINST HOLIDAY SCAMS, Tallahassee 100

Gold Shield Foundation honors Bondi, Tampa Bay Times

GOVERNOR SCOTT, AG PAM BONDI CELEBRATE HANUKKAH WITH CABINET, WDBO News 96.5

Florida Attorney General investigates businesses for price gouging, WTXL


Protecting Floridians

Attorney General Bondi Warns Parents About Internet-Connected Toys this Holiday Season


As parents shop for children’s gifts this holiday season, Attorney General Pam Bondi urges caution when purchasing Internet-connected toys. Before purchasing smart toys, such as dolls that speak with children and smart watches that contain GPS tracking technology, consumers should ensure toys employ adequate security and privacy protections for children.

“When shopping for children’s presents, safety should be the top priority. I urge parents to be cautious of any toy that could collect and share a child’s sensitive information,” said Attorney General Bondi.

Smart toys may collect children’s personal information that can include address, age, location, name, pictures and voices data. Toys that lack adequate security protections may expose a child’s sensitive information, creating a risk of child identity fraud or exploitation. Additionally, without adequate privacy protections, children’s personal information may be sold to third parties for targeted advertising. More.



Florida Missing Children’s Day

This week, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Governor Rick Scott, First Lady Ann Scott, Lt. Governor Carlos López-Cantera, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen and hundreds of law enforcement personnel, public officials and citizens recognized the 2017 Florida Missing Children’s Day in Tallahassee. The annual event is held to remember Florida’s missing children, recognize the state’s efforts in child protection and educate Floridians on child safety and abduction prevention.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Today we remember all of Florida’s missing children and their loved ones—who continue to hope and pray for their safe return. My heart breaks for families still searching for their children and I pray for our law enforcement officers working diligently to locate missing children and bring to justice those responsible for so much pain.” More.



Events

This week Attorney General Pam Bondi convened the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking in Tallahassee. Attorney General Bondi chairs the 15-member council that builds on existing state and local partnerships working to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking. Members of the council include law enforcement officers, legislators, prosecutors and experts in health, education and social services.

To watch the full meeting on The Florida Channel, click here.






Attorney General Bondi with Governor Rick Scott, First Lady Ann Scott and fellow Cabinet Members, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis celebrating the annual Capitol Christmas Tree Presentation Ceremony. This year, Bavarian Christmas Tree Farm, located in Tallahassee, provided the capitol with the beautiful trees. For more information about Florida’s Christmas tree industry, visit FLChristmasTrees.com.




On Wednesday, Attorney General Bondi joined Governor Scott and fellow Cabinet members for a meeting of the Florida Governor and Cabinet in Tallahassee.

Attorney General Bondi, Governor Scott, CFO Patronis and Commissioner Putnam lighting the Menorah with Levi and Shimmi Oirechman in celebration of Hanukkah.





Attorney General Bondi introducing Dasher, at the Florida Cabinet meeting. For more information on Dasher and other rescue animals in the Tallahassee area, visit TalGov.com/Animals.





Attorney General Bondi visiting with students from the Cornerstone Christian Academy. The students led the Pledge of Allegiance at this week’s Cabinet meeting.







Attorney General Bondi wishes a Happy Hanukkah to all those continuing to celebrate the Festival of Lights.