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Warning about St. Johns Co. tax scam

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County Tax Collector is warning about a scam where criminals are sending official-looking letters and emails, asking people to send them money.

Two local residents told the tax collector they received what appeared to be a bill for a property deed.

The notice appears official, and includes the person's parcel number, property details and address – all of which is public record. Although it appears legitimate, there are several references throughout that it is not affiliated with a government agency.

"Scam artists know that we, as a society, scan rather than read thoroughly most materials these days," said Tax Collector Dennis Hollingsworth. "It's a numbers game. They send enough of these notices out with information obtained through public records, and they know some people will just write a check."

Hollingsworth said he and other Florida Tax Collectors support legislation on the Governor's desk that will exempt certain email addresses from the public record.

The email addresses to be exempt are those retained by your tax collector's office as part of emailing your tax bill and by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as part of your driver license or vehicle registration records.

"E-mail addresses are unique to each individual and, when combined with other personal identifying information, can be used for identity theft, consumer scams, unwanted solicitations, or other invasive contacts," reads CS/CS/SB 7040.

For more information, contact SJTC at taxcollector@sjctax.us or call 904-209-2250.