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Don’t get schooled by scammers, Florida AG warns

File photo
File photo

We know parents have plenty on their minds as they get ready for the start of another pandemic-plagued school year. But scam threats shouldn’t be one of them.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody wants to put parents on their guard as the back-to-school sales tax holiday ends Monday.

She said scammers could be ready to target parents who are shopping for school supplies online.

Keep an eye out for fake ads on social media and for scam emails and phone calls offering student loan forgiveness plans, Moody warned.

“As a mother, I know firsthand that sending your kids back to school is an exciting, yet stressful event. It takes a lot of planning and shopping to make sure your student has the supplies they need to succeed in the classroom,” Moody said in a news release. “Scammers may try to exploit the back-to-school shopping rush through fraudulent ads on social media or through direct email solicitations. Don’t fall for their tricks and report any suspicious activity to my office by calling 1-866-9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.”

To avoid back-to-school scams, Moody encourages students and parents to keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a credit card when shopping online for additional consumer protections
  • Before providing sensitive information online, make sure the website is secure by identifying a padlock symbol by the URL or the https
  • Reach out to a trusted loan servicer to ask about the legitimacy of student loan forgiveness plan offers
  • Know that legitimate companies will never solicit personal or sensitive information over the phone, by email or by text

Moody also offered a reminder about child identity theft -- when a criminal uses a child’s personal information to commit fraud.

The Federal Trade Commission provides a webpage with information that advises against oversharing your child’s Social Security number and asks parents to protect documents that contain a child’s personal information.

Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday that ends Monday allows shoppers to be exempt from sales tax when purchasing qualifying back-to-school supplies.

FULL LIST: What’s eligible for the back-to-school sales tax break

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.