Local News 12-29-23

The long New Years’ weekend begins tonight and your local cops want you to remember that you may be off work, but they aren’t. Drive sober this weekend, have a designated driver and enjoy yourself – responsibly. If you’re driving, be forewarned – gas is up. The Florida AA says that gas prices in the state jumped on average by 14 cents a gallon last week, as much as anything in response to anticipated demand. Overall, Florida DOES remain a little under a penny a gallon less than the national average, at about $3.12 a gallon as of yesterday.

If a trip to Legoland up in Winter Haven is in your plans, be aware – the crummy weather prompted the park to decide to close the water park portion of the attraction through Saturday due to the weather forecast.

Law enforcement agencies around this part of the state say that the phone scam game is getting more sophisticated – along with bilking seniors and other trusting souls, the phone crooks are taking advantage of the holiday period to place calls to businesses, telling unsuspecting employees there’s an urgent financial matter that can’t wait and posing as corporate office personnel or other position of authority. The break between holiday – when lots of managers take time off – makes it more believable, and conned employees are asked to take money out of the till or even their own pockets and transfer the money by gift card or a bitcoin machine to – you guessed it – an account that’s overseas and untouchable once it’s gone.

You check your credit file regularly – we hope – and keep yourself safe from identity theft. But have you checked your property? Title fraud in Florida has been endemic in South Florida and Highlands County’s Clerk of Courts office is trying to stay ahead of the curve before it moves inland. For a month or so now, the Clerk’s office is offering an automated warning system that’ll alert you whether someone has recorded a document on your property. The service is free, and may save you some heartache is the coastal scammers notice this is a pretty nice place, too. Log on to www.highlandsclerkfl.gov and look for the “Property Fraud Alert” tab on the drop down menu, or in the links at the bottom of the page.

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