Consumer Tips

Tips to avoiding consumer fraud

What Fraud Is

Con artists are sharp, believable, and creative - and they want your money - usually right now. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

General Information

  • Work from home schemes are almost always scams.
  • Avoid “pay today” pressure tactics.
  • Get specifics.
  • Call the hotel to confirm payment if accommodations are included.
  • Ask about the refund policy before you buy.
  • Read a contract before signing, and in doubt, have someone you trust review it.

Buying A Used Car

  • There is no three day cancellation or a lemon law in Florida.
  • Comparison shop for price, condition, warranty, and mileage.
  • Don’t buy without an independent mechanic inspection.
  • Document dealer promises on the contract.
  • Copy the contract and keep in safe place.

Getting Your Car Repaired

  • Get a written estimate that spells out what you want done.
  • Let the mechanic decide what needs fixing, not you.
  • Get a second opinion for major repairs.
  • Make sure the final bill includes any warranties.
  • Go with your car to the shop when possible.

Hiring a Contractor

  • Avoid door to door solicitors.
  • Insist on references, a proper license, bonding, and insurance.
  • Check out credentials.
  • Make sure the contract can be broken if you don’t receive financing.
  • Hire a contractor with a real office, not just a post office box address.

Prizes & Sweepstakes

  • Don’t give out your credit card number to claim a prize.
  • Don't pay for a "free prize".

Investments & Business Opportunities

  • Investigate and verify all information.
  • Do not assume that official looking documents are either accurate or complete.
  • Beware of investment opportunities where your profit is "guaranteed".
  • Avoid investing in businesses you know nothing about.
  • Ignore testimonials or references that can be hired.
  • Review an investment opportunity with your accountant or financial advisor.
  • Check out the reputation of the company.
  • Research before you invest.

Telephone Solicitations

  • Ask a telemarketer to send you the offer or give you their telephone number.
  • Check to see that the telephone number is legitimate.
  • Never give a telemarketer your credit card number unless you trust them.

Fraudulent Health Claims

  • Avoid quick or painless cures, they are generally fraudulent.
  • Insist on scientific evidence rather than just testimonials or case histories.
  • There are no secret cures.

Warranties & Guarantees

  • Read your warranty.
  • Keep all sales receipts and warranties in a safe place.

Credit Card Fraud

  • Keep an eye on your card during the entire transaction.
  • Don't sign a blank receipt.
  • Draw a line through any blank spaces.
  • Don't give your card number over the phone unless you know the company.
  • Immediately question in writing any suspicious charges on your bill.

Beware These Key Words

  • Cash Only
  • Secret Plans
  • Something For Nothing
  • Haste
  • Today Only
  • Last Chance

Web Safety

  • Keep private information private.
  • Get to know online merchants.
  • Question out-of-this-world claims.
  • Make sure your transaction is secure.
  • Watch out for .exe files that can ruin your hard drive or collect information.
  • Block inappropriate sites

Contact Us

Orange County Consumer Protection
2450 33rd Street, 2nd Floor
Orlando, FL 32839

Phone: (407) 836-4237/4267
Fax: (407) 836-4233

All e-mail sent to this address becomes part of Orange County public record. Comments received by our e-mail subsystem can be read by anyone who requests that privilege. In compliance with "Government in the Sunshine" laws, Orange County Government must make available, at request, any and all information not deemed a threat to the security of law enforcement agencies and personnel.