Jacksonville Joins Initiative Aimed At Fighting Fraud In Florida

Mar 29, 2019

Jacksonville has joined Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ Fraud Free Florida initiative, a partnership designed to improve investigative efforts to fight fraud in the state.

Patronis was joined by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams Thursday for the announcement.

"Florida currently ranks first in fraud and fourth in identity theft nationwide,” Patronis said. “These statistics are alarming and that is why I’m thankful for the support of Sheriff Williams and Mayor Curry to spearhead my Fraud Free Florida initiative here in Jacksonville. This partnership will allow our agencies to better coordinate collective investigative efforts to protect Floridians, especially our seniors, from scam artists who prey on Floridians' hard-earned money.”

"With public safety as my greatest priority, I enthusiastically embrace initiatives like Fraud Free Florida that protect our citizens from financial abuse,” said Curry. “I applaud CFO Patronis and Sheriff Williams for identifying and building partnerships that prevent fraud and support the citizens of Jacksonville."

Fraud Free Florida aims to bring statewide law enforcement officials, local state attorneys, private sector stakeholders and members of Patronis’ fraud investigative teams together to fight various types of fraud plaguing the state.

"I am proud to join CFO Patronis and Mayor Curry in announcing this great partnership to fight fraud in Jacksonville,” Williams said.

The announcement comes a day after Patronis asked phone carriers to waive scam ID fees for seniors. When a phone has scam ID turned on, a “scam likely” message is displayed on the screen when a call comes in from likely scammers.

“Cell phone spoofing calls aren’t just a nuisance, they can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars,” Patronis said. “Last year Americans received 26.3 billion robocalls, and reports even suggest that this year nearly half of U.S. cell phone calls will be scams. The news that telecom companies are working together is a giant step toward helping end cell phone spoofing scams.”

Patronis wants to keep one step ahead of criminals and said that’s why partnerships with local law enforcement and the carriers are so important.

“That’s why I am challenging all telephone carriers to immediately waive the scam ID fee for seniors. Some carriers have already stepped up and do not impose these fees. I believe the others should at minimum help safeguard our seniors by waiving these fees. My new Fraud Free Florida initiative is about collaboration—working together to end these scam calls will help fight fraud in our state,” said Patronis.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.