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Florida-Agriculture.com
Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 617-7300

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

Warning To Market Bulletin Advertisers:
Recognize And Avoid Internet Scams

If you include your email address in a Market Bulletin ad, it becomes available to anyone anywhere in the world who has access to a computer. Unfortunately, some of these people have bad intentions.

Once someone has your email, they might send you unsolicited ads or financial “opportunities.” You might even receive “phishing” emails. These are sent by scam artists -- posing as legitimate businesses -- who try to entice you to provide sensitive personal information, such as back account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

Never respond to an email or pop-up window that asks for your personal information. If in doubt, call the institution that claims to be the sender of the email or pop-up window and get verification.

Watch Out For This Scam

Some Market Bulletin advertisers have reported receiving emails or telephone calls from potential buyers who offer to send a cashier’s check to pay for goods. The cashier’s check is for an amount greater than the price of the item, and the sender asks for the seller to return the overage. However, the cashier’s check turns out to be fake. The scammers hope the seller will pay the difference before discovering the cashier’s check is bogus. Some banks don’t immediately recognize that the check is fraudulent. So, to protect yourself from such scams, never accept a check that overpays for any item that you have offered for sale in the Florida Market Bulletin. Be especially wary of individuals who insist on communicating with you by email only. Ask for their name, telephone number and address, and try to verify the information using telephone directories or online resources. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable about a potential transaction, do not proceed with that transaction. Trust your instincts; if something doesn't seem right, it probably isn't.

What To Do

If you receive an offer for your advertised item via email from someone offering to pay by cashier’s check for more than the purchase price, forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at .

If you have lost money to one of these schemes, call your local Secret Service field office. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory, or visit www.secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml on the web.

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