Weekly Update for 2020-02-10
Dear Members and Advocates:
I cannot stress how important it is to check our site regularly and read our weekly updates. Despite repeatedly warning of the SCAM targeting persons required to register, we unfailingly get emails and calls from too many individuals each week who “just wanted to let us know about this scam going on…” or worse, who were taken for thousands of dollars.
Everyone! There is a scam targeting people on the registry!!! Yes, they sound really authentic. Yes, they spoof their telephone number to make it look like they are calling from the County Sheriff. Yes, they do know very specific information about you (because your registration information is public). And yes, the FDLE knows about it (see: https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/sops/important.jsf).
We all know how stressful it is being on the registry, we all know how you live with the constant fear that you could potentially be violating a law you didn’t even know existed and we certainly know how conditioned you are to complying with rules that seem totally ridiculous and farfetched. But please, please, please realize there is a known scam that has been going around for a while now and expect to be targeted.
Don’t let yourself be scammed! Right now, look up and write down the number to the actual registration office in your county (you can find the numbers here: https://offender.fdle.state.fl.us/offender/Documents/REREGISTRATIONLOCATIONS.pdf) keep the number handy. If you get a call from someone “in law enforcement” claiming you failed to register something, missed a court date, have an arrest warrant, failed to respond to a subpoena or certified letter, need to submit a DNA sample, or anything else, hang up and call the actual registration office (or FAC). If you need to, tell the fake detective you want to consult with your attorney. If they tell you that you need to stay on the phone with them or they will arrest you, all the more reason to hang up!
It’s frustrating to learn that the scamming is still going on more than a year later, because that must mean that it’s working and law enforcement isn’t doing enough to stop it. Consider this; if we completely unknowingly forget to register something benign, it’s a third degree felony carrying a mandatory minimum sentence, but if someone uses the registry to intentionally scam money from us, it’s a misdemeanor!!! (F.S. 775.21(c) Any person who misuses public records information relating to a sexual predator, as defined in this section, or a sexual offender, as defined in s. 943.0435 or s. 944.607, to secure a payment from such a predator or offender… commits a misdemeanor”. Clearly law enforcement doesn’t care and the laws prohibiting victimizing someone on the registry are not a harsh enough deterrent.
We only have ourselves to count on. For that reason, I stress the importance of checking our site regularly and reading these weekly updates. If you know others who are on the registry, forward this email to them or ask them to sign up to receive them. If you are or were part of a treatment program, share this information with others in your group or notify the treatment provider and ask them to let everyone know. If you have to go in to register this month, print off a few copies of the relevant portion of this email and ask if you can leave them in the office or post it on a bulletin board. The only way to stop this scam is to stop it from working. The only way it stops working is if we disseminate this information and prevent more victims.
Finally, a point of clarification on our Call to Action for SB 1552. With respect to the “Out of State” provision, the language of this bill states that even if you would be eligible to get off the registry (or have it confidential) in another jurisdiction, if you meet the requirements for registration in Florida, you will remain on. That “Out of State” provision in this bill therefore does nothing and is useless. However, there is something in the bill that’s reasonably useful and that is that vehicles would be able to be reported online as opposed to in person. It’s a small step, but at least it’s in the right direction. It also clarifies the reporting requirement prior to travel (“within 48 hours”), but leaves in the prohibition on emergency travel when the registration office is closed. We still encourage you to contact your senator before this bill is discussed tomorrow. If you would like to see FAC’s thought on the bill, you can find our letter to the bill sponsor here.
Please take action!
The Florida Action Committee
Amazon Smile – select (FAC Outreach Partner “Justice Transitions, Sanford FL” as your charity. Make purchases using https://smile.amazon.com in order to be certain that Justice Transitions (and FAC members) benefit from your purchases.
Wed Feb 12 and Feb 26 – Free Registrant Peer Support group (no therapist) meets in Pinellas Park area at 5:30 pm.
Thu Feb 13 at 8pm ET – New Member Orientation Call. Dial 319-527-3487
Thu Feb 20 – Local Meet-and-Greet in Lakeland (Polk County).
Fri Feb 28- Free therapist-led Family Support session (no registrants) meets at 7pm in Tampa.
Sat Mar 7. Free therapist-led Family Support session (no registrants) meets from 11am-1pm in Central Broward.
Seating is limited for all events. For more information, or to RSVP email [email protected] or call 904-452-8322. No children please.
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
FAC wants to recognize the efforts of Florida Cares Charity, and their organizer Denise Rock. After months of preparation, buses carrying FL Cares supporters rolled into Tallahassee last week for Justice Reform Lobby Day. With the support of Florida House…
A cursory glance at the Michigan Sex Offender Registry may reveal that someone who’s been convicted of a sex crime lives near you. Now what? Advocates for reforming the registry say this publicly available information not only doesn’t make communities safer, it…
After the California Supreme Court declared unconstitutional municipal residency restrictions for persons on the registry who are not on probation, many repealed theirs. San Diego, on the other hand, dug in their heels and refused repeal theirs. The Alliance for…
In 2015, he was released on parole. As part of the conditions of his release, he had to register as a sex offender. He got a job at a restaurant but was quickly fired after a police officer threatened to tell people a sex offender worked there. And in a sex offender…