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DCF: Scammers create fake websites to steal from the needy

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Updated: 1/23 9:00 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Scammers are trying to get ahold of your information by creating fake government assistance websites. The Department of Children and Families says scammers are preying on people all over our area.

Kevin Carrico, vice president of operations with the Clara White Mission, works with hundreds of needy families and veterans daily.

"This is some people's only income, only way of getting food and for someone to take that away from them would be devastating," he said.

A DCF spokesperson told Action News that crooks have been setting up their own websites to take advantage of those in need.

The scammers are targeting people looking to sign up for food stamps and temporary cash assistance hoping to get benefits but instead their personal identification is stolen.

"Unfortunately people prey on the ones who visit the Clara White Mission all the time, and it's pretty sad. That they will prey on folks that need it the most."

Carrico said a large majority of people they serve food to also receive food and cash assistance .

DCF said the fake websites look official but are not real. The real website is actually accessed through the state's website.

That's troubling news to Carrico. He said his office tries to avoid these scams by helping with the sign-up process.

"We have staff that will volunteer and help them out and bring them into to the computer lab, making sure they go into the right place and filing it out correctly," said Carrico

DCF said about 70,000 people in Florida use the temporary cash assistance program.

As for food stamps, here's the breakdown of the amount of people who use food stamps in our area.

Baker County 5,384
Clay County 25,322
Duval County 189, 664
Nassau County 9,885
St. Johns County 16,677

DCF urges anyone who has questions about this scam or signing up for benefits to give them a call.  The correct website to sign up for benefits is www.myflorida.com/accessflorida
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