CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — Charlotte County cautions customers about providing credit card or other personal information to callers claiming to be representing county departments.
Three contractors recently alerted the county’s Community Development Department they were contacted by phone by parties purporting to be from Charlotte County using “spoofed” county phone numbers. The callers claimed there were issues with the customers’ credit card payments and requested payment information. The customers declined and reported the calls to the county.
Spoofing is the act of disguising communications, such as phone calls, emails, websites, etc., from an unknown source as being from a known, trusted source.
“Charlotte County does not contact customers by phone regarding credit card payment disputes. Customers will know immediately at the time of the original transaction if there is an issue with their credit card. We would not be calling customers back days later to request their credit card information again,” said Charlotte County Community Development Director Ben Bailey.
If a customer receives a phone call purporting to be from Charlotte County regarding a declined credit card payment, they should contact the department in question.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office warns against providing payment information by phone to an unverified caller.
“Should you be contacted by phone, text, email, social media or otherwise and the initiating party asks or mentions a payment method, discontinue communication immediately. Never give out or confirm sensitive information – like your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number – unless you know who you’re dealing with,” said Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Claudette Bennett. “If someone has contacted you, you can’t be sure who they are. You are encouraged to report the scam attempt to Federal Trade Commission authorities at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts. If you fall victim to a scam, please contact the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office at 941-639-0013.”