Property appraiser warns of scam targeting Jacksonville homeowners

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland has a warning for homeowners: Don't fall for that phone scam going around that deals with homestead exemptions.

People have been getting phone calls lately offering them money if they renew their homestead exemption through the caller's service. The trouble is, those exemptions don't have to be renewed.

Warren Alvarez took one of those calls Monday morning. He said it seemed fishy and the voice on the other end of the line sounded computerized.

"I picked it up and the thing says, 'Mr. Alvarez, did you know you haven't filed your homestead exemption for the last three years? I can get you $75 a year return if you'll just punch one,'" he said.

Instead of following the caller's instructions, Alvarez picked up the phone and immediately notified Holland's office. Reached Tuesday, Holland said Alvarez did the right thing.

"The reality is, you don't have to renew your homestead and there should never be a fee involved," Holland told News4Jax.

When in doubt about a homestead exemption, homeowners should contact the property appraiser's office, Holland said. That way it's handled through the proper channels.

Alvarez had this advice for people who get suspect calls from numbers they don't recognize: Hang up. "Any time they start getting information, you need to be curious," he added.

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