The Jury Duty Scam is Back

The Jury Duty scam is back… alive and unfortunately, still well. So we feel it is our duty to spread the word about this illegal scheme and ask you to do the same.

In case you are not familiar, it begins with a call from someone claiming to work for the local court, Sheriff’s Office or U.S. Marshall.  They will sound official and be completely convincing, stating their name, title and location and the caller ID  will likely reflect it. They will then tell you that you’ve failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. In most cases, the victim will rightly claim they never received the jury duty notification, so the scammer manipulates further by asking for confidential information for “verification” purposes. The scammer will then tell the victim in order to avoid arrest, they can pay a fine, typically requested in the form of a Green Dot MoneyPak. To make it even more believable, the victim is often asked to bring the Green Dot MoneyPak to the courthouse.

As you read this you may be thinking that you know better than to give out your personal information or fall for something like this, but time and again this particular scam is working on a wide range of citizens, and it has not yet run out of steam. The goal of these scammers is to fluster the victims, and they are very good at it, repeatedly stating that this needs to be taken care of and is not a scam.  Those who have received these calls say they were scared, confused and started second guessing themselves.

Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to just hang up, but it’s not always that simple. If a scammer does catch you off guard, here are a few facts and bits of advice to keep in mind:

  1. Understand that if you miss jury duty, you will receive a letter in the mail.
  2. In the case of an arrest, an officer will come, in person.
  3. Payment due to government offices is not demanded via phone call, letters are sent in the mail.
  4. Pay attention to the name of the caller and see if they keep it straight, or do they mix up their “supposed” first and last name?
  5. The caller will often have a lot of your personal information, don’t give them any more and don’t confirm the information they do have.
  6. Often the caller will give the wrong address or street name of the Courthouse or Sheriff’s Office. If it doesn’t make sense to you, that is a “red flag.”
  7. If you do receive a call of this sort, please report it to local authorities so you can help prevent others from becoming victims.

Sadly, it’s not a matter of IF something like this will happen to you, but WHEN. We all work hard for our money, it’s not fair to let the “bad guys” scam it away from us.