What is Fraud?
Fraud is defined as any intentional or deliberate act to deprive another of property or money, by deception, or other unfair means. Fraud takes many forms: Telephone scams, email scams, falsification of official documents, theft of money or personal information, and more.
Your Clerk and Comptroller, Karen E. Rushing, offers tools to help you protect yourself, and issues alerts about schemes where impersonators act like Clerk or Comptroller employees in an attempt to defraud citizens.
If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, you should contact your local law enforcement agency or the Florida Division of Consumer Services at (800) HELP-FLA (Florida Residents) or (850) 410-3800 from outside Florida.
Property and identity fraud are a nationwide problem. By filing fake deeds, scammers appear to own property, and can fraudulently rent or sell the property without the knowledge of the true owner. By signing up for the Clerk and Comptroller’s Property Fraud Alert Service, you will receive an email whenever a document is recorded in Sarasota County using your personal or business name. Notifications are sent within 48 hours of the document being recorded, alerting you so you can look up the documents through public records, or dispute through law enforcement. Registration is simple and free.
For more information, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.
Have you received a call or email from someone who claims to be a Clerk employee, warning that you missed jury duty or a court case? This court scam is becoming more common, and has occurred in Sarasota County. Citizens are informed that there is a warrant out for their arrest due to missed court or jury duty. The caller or email writer presents themselves as an official, and requests that a payment be made (often by ‘green dot’ re-loadable debit card) to avoid embarrassment, arrest, and incarceration. There is no such process at the Sarasota County Clerk of Court or the Jury Office. Clerk and Comptroller employees do not initiate unexpected contact with citizens to request payment by phone or by email.
Protecting yourself against phone or email scams is simple: Just hang up. Do not reply to the email. Unless you have initiated contact, never give out your personal or financial information. If you receive a court-related call and are unsure about it, call the Clerk and Comptroller's Jury Office at (941) 861-7800 for verification.
You may receive a solicitation from a company offering a copy of your certified property deed—but for a higher than normal fee. These companies may charge a large and unexpected service charge. Since these documents are public record, they can be obtained directly from the Clerk and Comptroller for a nominal fee. Contact the Clerk’s Public Access Department for document certification, and mailing if applicable. Most deeds are only a few pages long, and are processed within 72 hours or sooner.
The Internal Audit Department and Office of Inspector General has established a toll free Fraud Hotline to report suspected fraud, waste or abuse. Calls to the hotline remain anonymous when proper reporting protocol is followed. The Investigative Services Team will review the allegations and determine if an investigation is warranted. The team gathers information and makes recommendations. The caller to the Hotline may be referred to Sarasota County Human Resources (to report Sarasota County employee harassment, discrimination, or grievable labor issues.)
- Report by phone
Fraud Hotline (855) 506-0304
- Report by mail
If you prefer not to use the Hotline, you may also report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse by mail to Fraud Hotline P.O. Box 3079 Sarasota, FL 34230.
- Report by fax
Fax your inquiry to (941) 861-5704.
- Report in person
Sarasota County Administration Center, Internal Audit Department, 1660 Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Additional Fraud Resources
- Sarasota County Sheriff
- Manatee County Sheriff
- DeSoto County Sheriff
- City of Sarasota Police
- Town of Longboat Key Police
- City of Venice Police
- City of North Port Police
12th Judicial Circuit Resources
- State Attorney for 12th Judicial Circuit
- Manatee County Clerk and Comptroller
- DeSoto County Clerk and Comptroller
Property Fraud Alert Service FAQs