I have been warning you about the jury duty scam for ten years, but it continues to snare many unwary victims.   Recently the Oregon Judicial Department issued a warning about jury duty scams in Oregon in which people were called on the phone by scammers posing as court officials threatening legal action if the targeted victim did not pay a fine by purchasing a gift card and then giving the card numbers over the phone to the scammer. This scam is not limited to Oregon and is being perpetrated around the country. This scam has been used effectively for years by scammers to con people out of their money or make them a victim of identity theft.

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 credit card or, as presently the case in Oregon, by a gift card.  Other times they ask for your Social Security number to confirm your identity.  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.

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 some instances of the scam you are asked to confirm your identity by providing your Social Security number which will then be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Recently the scam has evolved to where people are also being contacted by text messages or emails from scammers posing as a representative of the local court system.


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.  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 using your credit card or a gift card is a scammer.

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