Last week I received a call from a client who indicated she had received a call that because she missed a date at the courthouse for jury duty she faced arrest. She had the telephone number of the caller (from caller id), we ran the number through the internet and quickly learned that the call was a scam.
These calls are part of a resurgence of a “jury duty scam” reported by Scam Alert in May 2006 and the FBI a month later (http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2006/june/jury_scam060206). In recent weeks, there have been scattered reports that this ploy has resurfaced in some parts of the country.
The threat of imminent arrest is intended to scare you into making the predictable response of “I never received a jury duty summons” then the caller claims to want to clear the matter up by verifying your identity (social security number, birth date, bank information, credit cards, etc.). When the details are revealed, the caller can steal your identity, get credit cards, loans, medical services, etc. in your name, at your expense.
The callers use “spoofing” products, therefore the jury duty scam can appear authentic because the caller id screen may indicate that the call is coming from the local courthouse. Spoofing products are widely sold on the internet and allow the display of any phone number and name on your caller id.
What to do if you receive such a call:
- Hang up without providing any personal information.
- These calls are phony: Summons for missed jury duty are virtually always delivered by mail.
- County officials do not give you a heads up warning about an impending arrest.
- Calls from court officials are made during business hours, not in the evening when many of these calls occur.
- Report scam calls to your courthouse and state Attorney General’s office.
- You can always authenticate a call by looking up the courthouse number yourself and ask the jury coordinator or the court clerk’s office whether there is some issue regarding a “no show” jury summons in your name.