CONSUMER ALERT: AG Moody Warns of Passport Scams Amid Prolonged Wait Times this World Tourism Day
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—This World Tourism Day, Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert warning Floridians about passport scams. Due to a surging increase in the demand for passports, citizens are currently facing prolonged wait times and scammers may try to exploit the situation. To prevent unsuspecting Floridians from losing money or giving away personal information to a fraudster, Attorney General Moody is highlighting some of the most common passport schemes and providing tips on how to spot and avoid them.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “We have seen wait times to receive a passport increase to unprecedented levels, and scammers may try to exploit Floridians who urgently need travel documents. Passport scams can cause financial losses and compromise personal information. On World Tourism Day, I urge all Floridians to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to avoid falling victim to these deceptive schemes.”
The Better Business Bureau is reportedly receiving complaints about fake websites that seem legitimate at first glance. Victims may inadvertently use these sites to fill out a passport application but instead are providing scammers direct access to personal and financial information.
To stay protected from passport-related scams:
- Verify Legitimate Sources: Ensure that the process is going through an official government agency, post office or authorized passport agency. Scammers often create convincing websites that mimic official sources, so double-check the URL.
- Never Share Sensitive Information: Do not provide a Social Security Number, financial information or personal details to anyone claiming to expedite a passport application.
- Beware of Unsolicited Communications: Be cautious of unsolicited emails, texts or calls claiming to offer passport services. Government agencies will not contact applicants out of the blue.
- Research Fees: Scammers may demand exorbitant fees for passport services. Research the legitimate fees for passport applications on an official government website to avoid overpayment.
- Visit in Person: Whenever possible, visit the official passport agency or post office in person to apply and pay.
In March, Attorney General Moody released Scams at a Glance: Travel Traps. This resource contains additional information to avoid falling for possible travel-related scams. Access the resource here.
If victimized, report fraud to the U.S. Department of State and law enforcement.
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The Florida Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division issues Consumer Alerts to inform Floridians of emerging scams, new methods used to commit fraud, increased reports of common scams, or any other deceptive practice. Consumer Alerts are designed to notify Floridians about scams and available refunds in an effort to prevent financial losses or other harm caused by deceptive practices. Anyone encountering a scam should report the incident to the Florida Attorney General's Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com. To view recent Consumer Alerts and for other information about avoiding scams, visit MyFloridaLegal.com/ConsumerAlert.