The St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller will never request personal information from you via email, telephone or door-to-door. Do not be coerced into divulging your personal or financial information. Please call us immediately at 904-819-3600 if you have any questions or concerns about communications from our office.
Fraudulent traffic payment scam appearing in Florida
Feb. 2, 2022 — The Pinellas County Clerk of Courts has shared information about a new fraudulent traffic payment scam in which the scammer claims to be a court clerk working on the potential victim’s case and solicits payment by phone or by e-mail.
In a recent real-life example, the scammer was sophisticated enough to locate a person who did in fact owe money for a traffic citation and to obtain an image of the citation, possibly from public records. It is unclear how the potential victim’s email address was obtained since those are not made public by the Clerk’s office.
However, there were some hints that the email was not authentic:
- The scammer included the address and phone number information for the Pinellas Clerk’s Office that was fairly accurate but was incorrect in several details.
- The phone number given for the victim to call to make payments contained the wrong area code.
- The email had numerous typographical, punctuation and capitalization errors.
Here in St. Johns County, we will not contact you by email, text or phone to elicit payment.
Please visit our website here for payment options or call 904-819-3628 to speak to a traffic clerk.
Never provide personal information (address, date of birth, banking information, ID numbers) to someone you don’t know.
Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
Beware of a new text scam
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Jan. 29, 2022 —St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Brandon J. Patty is warning residents about a scam involving text messages claiming to be from the Clerk of Courts.
In one example (pictured) provided by a St. Johns County resident, the text reads, “MSG on behalf of the St. Johns County Clerk of Courts; Reply YES for balance. Tap msbpay.com/qp?=(number) for more info; To OptOut reply STOP.”
The text suggests that the recipient has failed to pay a fine or fee to the Clerk’s office, and the unpaid balance has been forwarded to a debt collection agency. Please do not respond to the text, and do not click on the link.
If you have an unpaid fine or fee that has been forwarded to a debt collection agency, please call the Clerk’s Office first at 904-819-3600 to verify the agency that is handling your case. You may also visit our website at stjohnsclerk.com/courts/traffic-parking/collections/ for information and authentic telephone numbers for collection agencies with whom we do business.
If you have received a scam text, please report the incident to the Florida Attorney General's Office by calling 866-9NO-SCAM (866-966-7226) or by filing a complaint online here.
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Jan. 18, 2022 — The St. Johns County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Office is warning residents about fraudulent phone calls from scammers claiming to be representatives of the Clerk’s office or law enforcement.
Many scammers claim that the individual has missed jury duty and must make immediate payment to avoid penalties. In some cases, the scammer indicates a warrant has been issued for the resident’s arrest and requests the individual to provide personal information, such as Social Security number and date of birth for verification. Additionally, some scammers seek payment of a bond or fine for failure to appear for jury duty.
Clerk’s office employees will never phone a resident to request payment for failure to appear. Failure to appear for jury duty requires attendance in court prior to any penalties being imposed, which would be ordered by a judge.
When residents don’t respond to a summons for jury duty, they are contacted through an official letter from the St. Johns County Clerk of the Circuit Court sent through the U.S. Postal Service.
If you receive a suspicious call, the Clerk’s Office advises that you provide no information, end the call immediately, and report the incident to the Florida Office of the Attorney General at 866-9NO-SCAM (866-966-7226).For questions regarding jury duty in St. Johns County, call 904-819-3629.
St. Johns County Courthouse north entrance closed
Due to COVID-19, the St. Johns County Courthouse North Entrance is closed indefinitely. Please utilize the South Entrance. Jurors reporting for duty must also report to the South Entrance. For directional or parking information, click here.
Be alert for potential scams
An ongoing phone scam is the “Can you hear me” trick. The scammer aims to get people who answer the call to say the word “yes.” Once they have a recording on file of your voice saying “yes,” scammers can then use it to authorize unwanted charges on bills, credit cards and more. Law enforcement recommends saying nothing and don’t press any buttons – just hang up.
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, you should always be skeptical of anyone who tries to get you to respond with a simple "yes." For example, here are a few ways scammers might get you to say it:
- Can you hear me?
- Are you the lady of the house?
- Do you pay the household phone bill?
- Do you pay the household bills?
- Are you the homeowner?
You should be skeptical of any yes or no question that has no context provided by the caller.
Scammers change their tactics as the public catches on, so be alert for other questions designed to solicit a simple “yes” answer. The safest thing to do is to just hang up.
Tips to protect yourself against scams:
- Don’t click on links from unsolicited email or text messages.
- Use Caller ID to screen calls and consider not even answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call back.
- If someone calls and asks “Can you hear me?” do not answer “yes.” Just hang up.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges. It’s also a good practice to check your telephone and cell phone bills. Scammers may be using the “yes” recording of your voice to authorize charges on your phone. This is called “cramming” and it’s illegal.
- Don’t be pressured into making fast decisions.
- Take time to research the organization.
- Never provide your personal information (address, date of birth, banking information, ID numbers) to people you do not know.
- Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you don’t know or haven’t met in person.
- Never send money for an emergency situation unless you can verify the emergency.
Scammers often claim to be utility representatives and threaten to disconnect your service, seeking personal and financial information. If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, utility company, etc., call the business directly.
See FPL’s fact sheet here.
The St. Johns County Utility Department can be reached at 904-209-2700 or visit the utility online here.
Reporting a scam attempt
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issues Consumer Alerts to inform the media and the public of emerging scams, new methods used to commit fraud, trends in consumer complaints, or any other deceptive practices utilized to take advantage of Floridians. Anyone encountering a scam should report the incident to the Florida Attorney General's Office by calling 1(866)9NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online.
To stay abreast of scams affecting Floridians or to report a scam, visit Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s website by clicking here.