Martin County Tax Collector’s main office fully online after lengthy shutdown

MARTIN COUNTY – The main office of the Martin County tax collector was fully operational on Tuesday for the first time in more than three weeks after it closed due to a “security incident”.

The incident is still under investigation by federal law enforcement.

Collector Ruth Pietruszewski told TCPalm on Tuesday that all vehicle-related services are available at the office – 3485 SE Willoughby Blvd. to Stuart – after the operation experienced “intermittent blackouts” on Monday linked to a state program that controls driver’s license transactions.

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The Stuart office dealt with concealed weapon services and property tax payments as other services, such as vehicle registrations and titles, slowly came back online.

It is not known when all branches of tax collectors will be fully open, Pietruszewski said. It is also not known when the FBI investigation will end or if any data has been compromised.

Customers at the Martin County Tax Collector's Office show up at a locked door to receive a warning letter about network issues at the Willoughby Commons office, leaving them unable to update their license plates Monday, November 1, 2021 at Stuart.

“So far everything has gone well,” Pietruszewski said of the investigation, while declining to say whether the shutdown was the result of a ransomware attack.

The incident was originally attributed to a BlackByte ransomware attack, but the blame was later removed. But that has not yet been ruled out as a possibility.

In the meantime, homeowners who can’t make it to Stuart’s office to pay their taxes can deposit checks at the Hobe Sound, Palm City or Indiantown locations, or pay online, Pietruszewski said.

The Palm City branch also deals with Transportation Security Agency services and the Hobe Sound branch deals with concealed weapons services. A kiosk inside Publix on Southwest Martin Downs Boulevard in Palm City processes registration renewal stickers.

Lina Ruiz is TCPalm’s surveillance reporter for Martin County. You can reach her at [email protected], on Twitter @ Lina_Ruiz48 or at 321-501-3845.

Esther L. Steinbach

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