The Florida Supreme Court is attempting to help spread the word about a series of email and phone scams “that will try to trick [consumers] into paying for phony court actions,” according to a report from NBC 2.
As the state Supreme Court explains in a statement:
“The scams appear to heavily target those with limited English-language skills, the elderly, health-care workers, and the relatives or heirs of people who recently died – though anyone can be a target.”
The Court goes on to discuss a few examples of the types of scams to watch out for. One common action uses a “spoofed” cell number to imitate the Supreme Court clerk’s office in order to tell the intended victims that “they must pay money or make a wire transfer to avoid being charged with offenses like kidnapping, child pornography or human trafficking.”
Another scam targets the relatives of someone recently deceased, telling them that they must pay some sort of upfront fee or tax in connection with the deceased’s estate; still another uses a phone call or email to “falsely claim that the person must pay a fine for missing jury duty or must disclose sensitive personal information like a Social Security number.”
Fortunately, many of these scams can be avoided with “a little foreknowledge,” according to the state Supreme Court’s statement. Specifically, they remind Florida residents that,
“state courts in Florida do not make initial contact by email or by phone to tell people to appear before a judge or to pay money. You normally would be told in person or by regular-delivery mail.
Anyone receiving similar emails or phone calls should not give out any sensitive personal information and may wish to report them to law enforcement or the Florida Attorney General’s Office. The local county clerk of court also can help with questions related to jury duty.”
The Court also reminds internet users who receive unsolicited emails from questionable sources to avoid clicking or opening any links, as they “may contain computer viruses or stealth programs that damage computers or steal personal information for possible identity theft.”
As Englewood resident Nancy Lowe told NBC 2, “It’s a shame that there’s all these scammers out there and people have to live in fear of that.”
Here’s hoping that the Supreme Court’s actions can help prevent any other innocent Florida residents from losing their money to these dangerous scams. To check any suspicious email or telephone contact that you may receive that alleges to come from a Florida state court, forward them to the real Florida Supreme Court at [email protected].
To see the full NBC 2 report – including video – we encourage you to check out the full story, available here.
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.