General Scam Prevention
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Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

General Scam Prevention Tips for Consumers

Scams come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of sophistication. However, they all share the common goal of identifying a victim's points of vulnerability and exploiting them to make money. Scammers are either trying to get directly to their victim's money, or they are after the victim's identity to set up fraudulent accounts. Either way, the victims are the ones who pay the price.

As consumers, we must be careful about the messages to which we respond and vigilant about protecting our personal information. Being informed and aware are our best defenses against scammers. Here are a few simple tips that can help consumers avoid becoming a victim:

  • Be skeptical of any unsolicited personal contact, telephone calls, letters, emails, or social media messages.
  • DO NOT use the telephone numbers, email addresses, or website addresses provided in an unsolicited contact to verify the validity of the information provided. Independently verify contact information through several sources before responding.
  • Get details in writing before signing agreements, sending money, or giving financial information.
  • Do not respond to high pressure tactics. Take the time to verify information and seek counsel from family, friends, or trusted professionals.
  • Be wary of anyone requesting payment through money transfer, money order, or by sending cash or gift cards.
  • Avoid using debit cards whenever possible. Purchases made by credit card will allow a consumer the ability to dispute charges.
  • Check a company's complaint history at under "Business/Complaint Lookup," or by calling 1-800-435-7352. If the business is regulated by FDACS, be sure to find out if they are registered.
  • Use "Check-A-Charity" at or call 1-800-435-7352 to verify a charity's registration status and to check their financial information.

For additional information, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352),
1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) en Español or visit


Florida's A-Z Resource Guide

Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer ServicesThe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has created the "A - Z Resource Guide" to help Floridians find the most appropriate agency to contact for various issues. The "A-Z Resource Guide" is available online at The services offered to consumers are listed in alphabetical order, in addition to a search function that provides information about the regulatory agency and statutes, if applicable. This resource guide is available in English and Spanish.

The department assists consumers regardless of whether we regulate the specific business or industry. If your complaint falls within our jurisdiction, we attempt to resolve your dispute and evaluate the business for compliance with applicable statutes. If your complaint is filed against a business that is not regulated by any federal, state or local government entity, we will attempt informal mediation to resolve the dispute. In the event that the complaint falls within another agency's jurisdiction, we will refer it to that agency.

Before engaging in services with a business, it's also a good idea to research the business to see if it has any complaints filed against it and, if so, how they were resolved. To do this, consumers can utilize the "Business/Complaint Lookup" feature on our website.

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Food Recalls
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Consumer Product Recalls
The Division of Food Safety monitors food from the point of manufacturing and distribution through wholesale and retail sales to ensure the public of safe, wholesome and properly represented food products.   The Consumer Product Safety Commission provides consumer product recall information as part of the agency's mission to protect consumers and families from hazardous products.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the state's clearinghouse for consumer complaints, protection, and information. Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department's consumer protection and information hotline by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) or visit us online at

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner