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The Villages
Saturday, February 24, 2024

Attorney general warns Floridians to be on lookout for passport scams

Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians about passport scams. Due to a surging increase in the demand for passports, citizens are currently facing prolonged wait times and scammers may try to exploit the situation. To prevent unsuspecting Floridians from losing money or giving away personal information to a fraudster, Moody is highlighting some of the most common passport schemes and providing tips on how to spot and avoid them.

We have seen wait times to receive a passport increase to unprecedented levels, and scammers may try to exploit Floridians who urgently need travel documents. Passport scams can cause financial losses and compromise personal information,” Moody said.

The Better Business Bureau is reportedly receiving complaints about fake websites that seem legitimate at first glance. Victims may inadvertently use these sites to fill out a passport application but instead are providing scammers direct access to personal and financial information.

To stay protected from passport-related scams:

  • Verify Legitimate Sources: Ensure that the process is going through an official government agency, post office or authorized passport agency. Scammers often create convincing websites that mimic official sources, so double-check the URL.
  • Never Share Sensitive Information: Do not provide a Social Security Number, financial information or personal details to anyone claiming to expedite a passport application.
  • Beware of Unsolicited Communications: Be cautious of unsolicited emails, texts or calls claiming to offer passport services. Government agencies will not contact applicants out of the blue.
  • Research Fees: Scammers may demand exorbitant fees for passport services. Research the legitimate fees for passport applications on an official government website to avoid overpayment.
  • Visit in Person: Whenever possible, visit the official passport agency or post office in person to apply and pay.

If victimized, report fraud to the U.S. Department of State and law enforcement.

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