The US Federal Court System is warning people of yet another scam targeting potential jurors.
This time around the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts says citizens are getting e-mails claiming they have been selected for jury service and demanding that they return a form with such information as Social Security and driver’s license numbers, date of birth, cell phone number, and mother’s maiden name. According to the court office, the e-mail scam has been reported in at least 14 federal court districts.
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According to the e-mail, anyone who failed to provide the information would be ordered to court to explain their failure, and could face fines and jail time. The e-mail also falsely claimed that it was affiliated with eJuror, an online registration program used in about 80 U.S. court districts.
The email is fraudulent and has no connection to either the federal courts or to eJuror, the court system said in a statement. The Administrative Office noted that eJuror never requests that personal identification information be sent directly in an email response. Requests by courts to complete a qualification questionnaire would be initiated by formal written correspondence. Such letters tell jury participants how to access an authenticated, secure online connection. It is a federal crime to falsely represent oneself as a federal court employee.
In June the court system warned about scammers using the threat of arrest unless of course you pay them off. The fake arrest warrants were been reported across the country, including in the District Courts for the Southern District of Ohio, Southern District of Illinois, New Mexico, Western District of Kentucky, Utah, the District of Columbia, and throughout Florida. Anyone demanding or obtaining money or anything of value while impersonating an officer or employee of the United States may be fined and/or imprisoned up to three years.
Specifically the US Court statement said: "You've received a warrant by fax or email saying a federal law enforcement officer or an attorney for the government wants to arrest you. Charges may be for money laundering or bank fraud, or missed jury duty. To avoid arrest, the warrant says, send money. “
The warrants may display a bogus logo of an unspecified "United States District Court," a case number, and various charges. Typically, recipients are instructed to call a number to get a "settlement" or to wire money to avoid arrest.
"The warrant is phony. A valid warrant would not be served by fax or e-mail. It would be served in person by a U.S. Marshal or other law enforcement officer. Law enforcement doesn't make phone calls either - another popular scam these days," the court says.
Another jury scam the court points out is where citizens are being targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts.
In the calls, the threat of a fine for shirking jury service is used to coerce those called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls are not from real court officials, the court says.
Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.
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