I have been warning you about the jury duty scam for seven years, but it continues to snare many unwary victims. Recently, the Sheriff of Oakland County, Michigan issued a warning about this scam and there have been increasing reports of this scam being perpetrated throughout the country.The scam starts with a telephone call that you receive purportedly from a law enforcement officer informing you that you have failed to appear for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. You are told, however, that you can avoid arrest and greater fines by paying a fine through a wire transfer, gift card, credit card or even iTunes card. Of course, the phone call is a scam. Even if you have missed jury duty, you will never be called by legitimate court officers and shaken down for a payment. An FBI warning last year about this scam noted that often the scammers will use a technique called “spoofing” to make the call appear on your Caller ID as if it is coming from a legitimate law enforcement agency or court.
In another variation of the jury duty scam, when you respond that you have not missed jury duty, you are asked to provide your Social Security number for verification of your identity. In this case, the scammer is seeking your Social Security number to make you a victim of identity theft.
Initial contacts from courts regarding jury duty are always in writing through the mail although some systems will permit you to receive future notices through email. Under no circumstances will you receive telephone calls or text messages indicating that you have failed to report for jury duty. No court will demand payment over the phone for failing to appear for jury duty and they will not ask for your Social Security number. If you do receive such a call and you think that there is even the possibility that you might have forgotten to report for jury duty, merely call the local clerk of courts in order to get accurate information. Of course anyone calling you and telling you that you can pay your fine to them over the phone is a scammer.
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