Federal courts warn of increased jury duty scams

Scammers intent on identity fraud and theft say victims missed jury duty

Another round of scammers using missed jury duty as a way to grab your personal information is making its way around parts of the country, according to a warning issued this week by the US Federal Court system.

The scare scam is pretty basic in that the creepy caller rings up the victim, often spoofing the phone to register Federal Court or some other official looking name, then tell the person they missed jury duty and now face jail time or a big fine. They then request personal information and credit card numbers to "take care of the problem."

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These calls are not from real court officials.  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, the court stated.

According to the Federal Court, the scams have occurred most frequently in the District of New Mexico, but federal court officials in Utah and Colorado said they recently received similar complaints.  In the New Mexico scam, callers posing as court employees are demanding payment of a $400 fine, even though victims never received a jury summons. Victims are being advised to purchase a MoneyPak prepaid credit card, call a designated phone number and read off the card number.

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The court says if you receive one of these calls you should just hang up and notify the Clerk of Court's office of the U.S. District Court in their area.

Jury duty scams have been called out at least three times by the FBI in the past five years or so.

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