By Katie Ritchie
Have you ever been summoned for jury duty? If so, you know official jury paperwork comes through the mail. For Federal cases, you may get a letter which directs you to fill out an online questionnaire. Note, even then the first contact will always be made through the mail. The online survey does not ask for your social security number.
If you get an email or phone call claiming you failed to respond to jury duty, it’s a scam. They will claim that there is a pending warrant for your arrest. The scammer may ask for your social security number or date of birth to “prove” you’re you. They’ll then use that information to steal your identity, later.
Many scammers claim you can avoid being arrested by paying a fine. They threaten to send police if you don’t pay up now.
They’ll ask for a credit card or prepaid money card in a specific amount.
They may insist on staying on the phone as you conduct the transaction. This is to prevent you from contacting anyone who might talk you out of paying the “fine”.
As soon as you give the scammer card information, they will spend it so you can’t get your money back.
How can you protect yourself? Remember no court or law enforcement agency will call for fine payment. A prospective juror who disregards a jury summons will get a letter in the mail from the Clerk of Court’s office.
That letter may include an order to appear before a judge. If it does, that letter will be signed by the judge. Any fines imposed would be ordered during that court appearance, not via phone or email.
What should you do if you get a call like this? Do not give them any identifying information. Hang up the phone.