The Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s Office has changed its appointment scheduling system after discovering that scammers were bulk-booking driver license appointments and selling them to residents for a fee.
The office received an influx of complaints regarding a lack of appointment availability and received tips that third parties were selling appointments, according to a news release.
The office launched an investigation that revealed a pattern of daily appointments being reserved under identical names and email addresses.
Appointments are not required for most services, but residents can reserve appointments on the tax collector’s website up to 30 days in advance at no charge.
The office believes that third parties are monitoring the scheduling software and immediately snapping up available appointments, possibly through the use of AI and bots, preventing residents from accessing available appointment slots, the news release said.
“This fraudulent behavior by individuals who are exploiting residents and denying them access to essential services is unacceptable. Unfortunately, appointment selling has become a growing trend across the nation, and in Hillsborough County, we are committed to putting an end to this interference and restoring fair and equitable access to services for all residents,” Hillsborough County Tax Collector Nancy Millan said, in the release.
After learning of the problem, Millan’s office asked the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office to investigate.
“It is believed that these individuals are targeting minority populations, with most of the suspected “sold” appointments taking place in the Hispanic community,” the release said.
Residents are encouraged to report any suspected incidents of appointment selling to Millan’s office.
These changes have been made to the appointment book process, to combat the fraud:
- The new system only allows one appointment booking per person. The limitation aims to prevent the mass booking of appointments by unauthorized entities.
- During the booking process, customers are required to enter their Driver License number, a parent’s Driver License number for minors, or an alien registration number.
- Appointments are exclusively reserved for Hillsborough County residents and customers are required to confirm this acknowledgment before booking.
- Staff at the tax collector’s branch offices check residency and ensure the names and ID numbers provided at the time of appointment booking match upon arrival to the office. If they do not match, the appointment will not be honored.
For further information regarding services, locations and to book appointments, visit HillsTax.org.
Published August 23, 2023