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Signs of a Process Serving Scam

Using a certified or otherwise appointed process server is required in Florida, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of scammers out there waiting to take advantage of any individual who files a civil lawsuit. Unfortunately, people are deceived every year by people pretending to be certified process servers. In this post, we’ll go over some of the top signs you’re dealing with a process server scammer and how to avoid them in the future.

They’re Not Certified

Process servers in Ft. Myers must be certified by Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit in order to legally serve process in Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry counties. A list of currently certified servers can be found on the 20th circuit’s website. If the server you’re talking to isn’t on this list, then they’re not approved to serve process here and should be avoided.

Their Price is Too Good to Be True

The old expression “you get what you pay for” is true in the process service industry as well. If the going rate to serve process in your area is $100 and a server offers to do it for $25, a red flag should go up. Process servers are professionals who rely on their income from the serving process to pay their bills, so it doesn’t make sense for them to charge cutthroat rates to get clients. While server prices will vary slightly, huge variations from the average price should be avoided.

Their Price is Too Bad to Be True

Some scammers take the opposite approach, presenting a price that is unusually high. While some people will immediately be put off by the extra expense, others may take the high asking price as a sign of quality or reliability. That’s too bad because once the scammer gets your extravagant payment, you’ll probably never see or hear from them again.

They Have No Verifiable Reputation or References

You should always ask a potential process server for a resume and references before hiring them. While new servers won’t have an extensive work history in the industry, their resume should still show completion of the basic requirements to get their process server certification. Servers who claim to have years of experience should have no problem producing a list of previously satisfied clients. If the server you are considering has no resume or references to present, run the other way.

You Can’t Prove That You Paid Them

Scammers used to operate in cash only, but with the rise of peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo, Cash App, and Zelle, scamming people out of their money became much easier. Paying with cash without getting a receipt is always a bad idea. Payment apps allow you to send money to pretty much anyone with nothing more than a username. Once the money is sent, getting it back is usually impossible unless the recipient agrees to refund it, which a scammer would never do. What’s worse is that payments made via these apps are usually sent to fraudulent accounts, meaning you cannot prove that the payment was actually for the service of process.

Avoiding Scams

Scammers are more sophisticated than ever before, but with some basic safety practices, many of their tricks can be avoided:

  • Always check to make sure the server is certified/approved to work in the county where service is needed
  • If the server claims to work for an agency, check into their reputation and references as well
  • Check references, including calling people to make sure they’re real
  • Never pay with cash
  • Always get a receipt for all payments
  • If you do pay with an electronic service, only use those that offer buyer protection, such as PayPal

Legit Process Servers in Southwest Florida

For process servers that you never have to worry about, the team at Accurate Serve in Ft. Myers has your back. We’re certified to work in the 20th circuit, have references available for your review, and price our services competitively. Give us a call at (239) 822-7299 or send us a work request online to get started today.