This story was first published on October 7, 2014
Scammers posing as court officials or police officers are calling people and claiming that they have missed a scheduled jury duty date and must pay an immediate fine or face serious legal consequences.
The criminals demand that victims purchase pre-paid credit cards and then call back to provide card details. The scammers are then able to transfer funds from the card to an offshore account.
In some versions, they demand that victims buy store gift cards such as iTunes cards and then call back with the details or simply wire the “fine” via a money transfer service as cash.
Criminals Intimidate Victims into Complying
The scammers know how to present themselves with authority and they are often able to intimidate victims into complying with their demands. They threaten victims with imprisonment or huge fines if they do not pay the requested amount immediately.
In some cases, the scammers use the names of real police officers to make their claims more believable.
Derived From Earlier Jury Duty Phone Scams
Jury duty phone scams are nothing new. In fact, scammers have been using the tactic since at least 2005. In many of the earlier attempts, the scammers were more focused on tricking victims into divulging their personal and financial information with a view to stealing the identity of victims.
Jury Duty Scams Similar to Arrest Warrant Scams
The new variants of the jury duty scams are very similar to another widespread phone scam in which the criminals claim that there is an outstanding warrant for the victim’s arrest. Again, victims are told that they must purchase pre-paid credit cards and call back with details to avoid imprisonment or further fines.
Police Or Court Officials Will NOT Call and Demand Money
Keep in mind that police or court officials will never call you about missed jury duty or an outstanding warrant and demand an immediate payment over the phone.
If you receive a call from a person who makes such demands, terminate the call. If you are concerned, you can call your local police department to ask about the issue. But, do not use a contact number provided by the caller. Locate a contact number for local police via a phone directory.