‘You missed jury duty’ scam preys on fears

Consumer Alerts

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Jury duty scams are targeting people preying on the fear of law enforcement.

Scammers are successfully using threatening calls and intimidating emails to scare people into paying up. 

You answer the phone, and it’s someone claiming to be from the local law enforcement or judicial agency. The caller tells you that you’ve missed a jury duty summons and could be arrested.

In the end, it’s all a scam.

Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, says,

“A lot of times when you are summoned for some type of jury duty, all that correspondence is typically done through the traditional mail so these phone calls and emails should definitely raise a red flag if you should get one.”

A scary part about this scam, the caller may appear to be very legitimate, with caller ID showing a police phone number and an official-sounding voice on the phone.

Babin explained, “They’re telling you that you were summoned for jury duty. You must not have known about it, but you missed your jury duty date. You didn’t show up, and there’s a warrant for your arrest now, and they’re threatening you with that arrest unless you give them some type of financial information. They can charge you and pay a fee and the arrest warrant will go away.”

That “fake” fee, according to Babin, could be anywhere from $50 to a couple of hundred dollars.

“They’re asking for some type of credit card, debit card information or they’re asking you to go out and purchase a prepaid debit card and give them the PIN number so that they can take the money off of it,” said Babin.

The jury duty scam may be used to trick you into providing personal information that can be used for identity theft.

Here’s some tips from the BBB on how to avoid jury duty scams:  

  • Be skeptical of unsolicited emails and calls. Courts do not typically summon people via email, text message or phone. 
  • Call the appropriate judicial agency if you ever question whether you need to appear in court. 
  • Ignore calls for immediate action. Scammers try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency. Don’t fall for it. 
  • Beware of requests to pay via wire transfer or prepaid debit card. This is almost always a sign of fraud.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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