NewsLocal News


LEE COUNTY | State Attorney's Office and BBB warn of scammers using public records

Jury Duty scammers
Posted at 6:35 PM, Sep 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 19:30:50-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — The State Attorney's Office is warning of a new fraud alert you need to be on the lookout for.

According to State Attorney Amira Fox's office, scammers are getting creative and using public records to target people throughout Southwest Florida. They pull court records and find people who are involved in certain cases, then contact them claiming they have been subpoenaed and owe money.

"This is a typical government impostor scam," said Bryan Oglesby, Director of Communications for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of West Florida.

Oglesby told Fox 4's Briana Brownlee this is one of the top scams reported to the BBB scam tracker.

"They are using public information to really make themselves look legitimate," Oglesby said. "This is a very high victimization rate. Consumers lose on average $800 to $1,000 per scam," Oglesby said.

With the latest consumer report, the federal trade commission reported more than $445 million in losses due to these government impostor scams.

Since it'stargeting people who could be facing subpoenas, Oglesby said this is how you can tell the real from the fake.

"No government agency will ever ask you for your personal and sensitive data," Oglesby said. "They aren't going to ask you to submit a payment and most importantly scammers are going to ask for payment with a gift card, cryptocurrency or wire transfer."

When hearing of scams like these you may think it's happening close to home; however, the BBB said it's usually someone who isn't in your city, state or even your country.

"When it comes to scams, the reason why it's hard to track these scammers and go after them especially for law enforcement is that a lot of these scams happen from overseas. They are not local in nature and they are happening from many different countries," Oglesby said.

He added that to make sure you don't fall victim, if someone calls you asking you to do anything—stop, go to the source's website, look up the number and call and ask questions.