Having practiced commercial litigation for many years here in Boca Raton, we’ve seen and helped clients with a fair share of consumer fraud cases. While sometimes your best form of protection is to Google a company before you purchase a product or provide them with any personal information–as well as make sure you read everything carefully before you sign any contract–that doesn’t mean that consumers and businesses do not still need protection from harmful practices.
Below, we’ve discussed recent updates in consumer fraud cases and recently reported scams:
$28 Million Dietary Supplement Consumer Fraud before Florida Courts
The individuals behind one of the biggest consumer fraud scams between 2013 and 2016 were arrested on June 30th and presented before the Magistrate Judges in the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. Reportedly, these defendants created and operated more than 100 companies that specialized in products like dietary supplements called “nutraceuticals,” while repeatedly billing thousands of customers who never ordered and/or received these products. In total, more than $28 million in fraudulent charges were placed.
Defendants created numerous companies in websites as credit card processors would cease doing business with one name as consumers discovered fraudulent, unauthorized charges. They are now being charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
Funeral Insurance Fraud
One of the more recent scams that has emerged involves selling funeral insurance. Fraudulent mailers are placed in mailboxes, labeled “official business” and asking you to fill in personal information such as name, phone number, address, age, and spouse’s information. And yet, these mailers aren’t associated with any state Office of Commissioner of Insurance, making it insurance fraud.
The Law: Protect Yourself
The purpose of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is to protect victims of consumer fraud. Anyone aggrieved by a violation may bring an action to obtain a declaratory judgment that an act or practice violates the law. The law also provides that plaintiffs may recover actual damages, as well as attorney’s fees and court costs. The Economic Crimes Division enforces violations of the Act, with primary jurisdiction for enforcement of the law falling within the State Attorney for the judicial circuit.
Other steps you can take to ensure that you are protected include:
- Save any and all receipts;
- Save whatever packaging and paperwork came with the product; and
- Keep track of any interaction(s) with the company in question.
Experienced Commercial Litigation & Consumer Protection Attorneys
Fraud is a frequent issue that comes up in commercial litigation cases. Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A. has a combined record of over 130 years of protecting consumers in Boca Raton and surrounding areas in Florida. Contact our team of experienced attorneys today for a free consultation, and let us help you.