What to know about traffic citation scam hitting Florida

State and county officials are warning about a scam centering on traffic tickets.

Brevard County Clerk of Courts Scott Ellis has posted on his office's website a warning about the scam. The warning was issued this week by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The warning indicates that Florida residents and visitors "may be targeted by a company representing itself as the DHSMV, demanding payment for fraudulent citations. The company, which is not associated with the DHSMV in any way, will send emails to consumers requesting payment of a citation within a certain time frame, and if the payment is not received on time, the company will falsely require a daily late fee payment. The DHSMV is warning consumers that this is a scam, and no payment should be made."


Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Communications Director Beth Frady said Florida Highway Patrol officials are investigating the scam.

She said visitors to Florida from Germany and Peru are among those who have received the email.

Ellis emphasizes that "the clerk’s office does not email anyone for any form of payments. We don’t keep a library of email addresses, and would have no way of knowing the email addresses for those who may owe a fine or fee.”

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provided a sample of the scam email, which includes the state agency's logo, a fake citation number, and a message that reads in part: "You have 3 days to pay this traffic citation or your driver's license may be suspended, and a $50.00 late fee will be assessed every 3 days until citation balance is fully paid."

The email also includes a "how to pay" link to a payment page and an email address.

'Well-being phone scam' hits Brevard, troubles families
What consumers should know

• The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and clerks of court do not email citations to customers.

• The DHSMV and clerks of court do not require citation payment via email.

• Citation numbers are always seven alpha-numeric digits.

• If a consumer receives a notice regarding a suspicious citation, he or she should contact the local clerk of court or call the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles immediately to report the scam.

The DHSMV number is 850-617-2000, and its email is hsmv-info@flhsmv.gov.

The Brevard County Clerk of Courts Office can be reached at 321-637-5413, and can check on whether a citation notice is legitimate.

• If a consumer has made a payment related to this scam, he or she should refute the charge, and take the appropriate security measures with his or her financial institution.

Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or dberman@floridatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByDaveBerman and on Facebook at facebook.com/dave.berman.54


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