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COURT APPEARANCE FRAUD SCHEME ALERT

Clerk Kinzel’s Office of Inspector General hotline has received two complaints from Collier County residents within the last 24-hours.

Collier County Clerk of Courts and Comptroller Crystal Kinzel cautions that scammers are contacting Collier County residents, claiming that they failed to appear at a court hearing. The scammers are then requesting that residents pay between $3,000 to $3,500 in cash to avoid executing an arrest warrant with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. Two complaints were reported to the Clerk’s Inspector General hotline within the last 24-hours. Both complainants indicated that they received the suspicious phone call from the same phone number (239-351-5418) from individuals identifying themselves as either “Sergeant Jefferson” or “Lieutenant Cooper” from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.     

Clerk Kinzel advises citizens to never give personal or financial information over the phone to a stranger, especially if the caller acts aggressively. Calls asking for payments made by cash, gift card or in person are a red flag for a fraud scheme. Residents should be wary of caller ID, as this can be spoofed, making a phone call look like it is coming from a legitimate source.

“If you receive a call from someone saying you’ve missed a court hearing or jury duty and need to pay a fine in order to avoid being arrested, immediately hang up the phone,” said Crystal K. Kinzel, Collier County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. “Our office does not utilize this type of intimidation tactic. Please contact our Inspector General hotline immediately to report scams or fraud.”

Clerk Kinzel’s Office of Inspector General can be reached at (239) 252-8412, or through the 24-hour confidential hotline at 844-ClerkIG (844-253-7544). Alternately, you may submit a complaint online at www.CollierClerk.com.

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