The Florida Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division today issued a Consumer Alert to inform Florida students of now-defunct Argosy University of available options. [Read more…] about Consumer Alert: Argosy University Students Eligible for Loan Discharges
Attorney General Ashley Moody today issued a consumer alert encouraging people improperly charged toll and PlatePass fees to file a claim. [Read more…] about Consumer Alert: Claims Process for Improperly Charged Toll and Car Rental Fees
With tax season arriving, Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning consumers about an evolved form of phishing attack. [Read more…] about Consumer Alert: Beware of Conversation Hijacking Scams
Florida is the most military friendly state in the nation, with more than 1.5 million military veterans living in the Sunshine State. Last year, the Florida Legislature passed House Bill 29 to help military members in Florida by allowing for certain financial services business licensure fees to be reimbursed. [Read more…] about Consumer Alert: Military Fee Reimbursement Program
Active military members, veterans, and their spouses can now apply for reimbursement
of mortgage loan originator and securities associated person license fees
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced that rulemaking to implement Florida House Bill 29, the Don Hahnfeldt Veteran and Military Family Opportunity Act, is complete. Active military members, veterans, and their spouses can now apply for reimbursement of fees associated with licensure of mortgage loan originators and securities associated persons. [Read more…] about Consumer Alert: Military Fee Waiver Program
Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are an important piece of your retirement planning. Self-directed IRAs have become a popular choice for those looking to supplement their nest egg. While most IRAs invest your money in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., which are registered with regulatory organizations, a self-directed IRA allows the owner more control over where the money is invested, including unregistered investments. [Read more…] about Consumer Alert: Self-Directed IRAs
Insurance Experts on the Ground for Franklin County Residents Impacted by Fire
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis yesterday directed his Division of Consumer Services to send insurance experts to Franklin County to assist residents with navigating the insurance claims process. Insurance experts will be on the ground today, June 26, and Wednesday, June 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. [Read more…] about CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Consumer Alert
Planning for something that seems far off in the future or feels unattainable, like retirement, may seem like a daunting task. According to the National Retirement Planning Coalition, only 22 percent of baby boomers believe that they are adequately preparing financially for retirement, and 58 percent of generation x-ers haven’t even tried to calculate how much they need for retirement. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation reminds Floridians that having a comprehensive retirement plan is key to a successful and stress-free retirement. Below are tips to get you started:
Think about your retirement goals. Do you plan to travel extensively, live in a different city or plan to retire at a certain age? Thinking about what you want out of retirement will help you better understand how much money you will need.
Make a plan. After assessing your desired retirement goals and financial situation, create a savings strategy. Aim to increase your savings regularly, and periodically re-assess and potentially re-align your strategy as your goals, financial situation, and life changes. Online retirement calculators can be very helpful. Be sure to include healthcare costs in your retirement plan.
Protect yourself from fraud. Unfortunately, retirees are targets of scams. Know the red flags of common scams ensnaring retirees, like investment scams, reverse mortgage scams and identity theft. Be wary of unsolicited offers and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The Florida Office of Financial Regulation offers Floridians a robust online Consumer Knowledge Center, where you can find more information on many financial topics, including tips on how to spot potential financial scams.
Identity theft reached a record high in 2017, impacting nearly 17 million Americans. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) encourages you to take steps to protect your identity and personal information. Identity theft can happen to anyone, anywhere, and sometimes taking the appropriate precaution just isn’t enough. As soon as thieves have your personal information, they can drain your accounts, charge your credit cards, open new accounts, get medical treatment on your health insurance, and file taxes in your name – and even steal your tax refund.<
- You see suspicious transactions on your bank account that you don’t recognize.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- You get calls from debt collectors about debts that aren’t yours.
- The Internal Revenue Service notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer for whom you don’t work.
- You’ve stopped getting certain bills or other mail.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
- You’re notified that your information was compromised by a data breach.
- Report it as soon as possible, and get a recovery plan.
- Depending on what information is lost or exposed, check out the steps you can take to recover.
- Be vigilant.
- Monitor your bank and credit card transactions regularly.
- Shred unnecessary personal documents and unwanted mail.
- Check your credit report and credit score quarterly, or at least annually.
- Turn on two-factor authentication wherever possible. Enabling two-factor authentication on sites that have that capability, where a separate action must be taken beyond providing a username and password to access an account, can make it more difficult for fraudsters to take over your accounts.
- If necessary, place fraud alerts or security freezes on your credit files.
- Sign up for account alerts. Early detection via text messages and emails can help minimize the damage of identity theft.
- Assess your finances. Review your income and expenses, noting which expenses are necessary and which aren’t. Determine an amount to save every month.
- Set a goal. When deciding on goals, be sure to include short-term goals and long-term goals. Short-term goals are helpful for more immediate purchases, like a vacation or car. Long-term goals are important for retirement planning and building wealth.
- Create an action plan. Consider how long it will take you to reach your desired goal. It’s a good strategy to increase your savings amount each year when you review your finances.
- Make savings a habit. Make a commitment to paying yourself every month, just like you would a monthly expense. Automatic withdrawals are a simple way to make saving easy.