Amid a hectic week, you receive a phone call reporting that you have failed to show up for jury duty and now you must face a judge and possibly jail time. Like most people who receive this call, you’re most likely to panic. But is the call real or just a scam?
It’s a scam.
AARP has reported that the jury duty scam has been around for 10 years. However, it is still successfully provoking fear and immediate responses from people, especially seniors. The scam has become so rampant that the United States Court system has had to warn citizens about it.
So how does it work? AARP explains how it’s done as they state, “you get a phone call (although bogus emails and letters are sometimes used) warning of imminent arrest because you didn’t report for mandated jury duty. This news appears authentic, thanks to caller ID spoofing the names and numbers for a courthouse or law enforcement agency, and it aims to scare you into making the usual response: “What? I never received a jury duty summons!”
These callers claim to be law enforcement members. They’ll frame themselves to be the local police, from the sheriff’s department or even United States Marshal’s office. The scammer gets the information they want through assuring you that you can avoid jail time through paying a fine by credit card, wire transfer, or debit card. If the scammer is aiming to steal your identity, they’ll offer to check their records. In order to do so, they’ll need personal information such as your social security number, birth date and few other details.
How to respond
Now that you’re aware that jury duty scams exist, what happens if you get a phone call tomorrow regarding missing jury duty? HANG UP! As AARP correctly states “as with official notifications that order you to serve on jury duty, no-show summonses are delivered by U.S. mail. In rare instances, prospective jurors may be telephoned by legitimate courthouse employees — but only after an authentic jury duty summons was mailed but returned to sender because it couldn’t be delivered.” Remember, according to the United State Court system: “A court will always send a jury summons by U.S. mail and will never demand payment or sensitive information over the telephone.”
Like many other scams, these scams are often aimed to scam elderly people. How can we protect seniors? Make them aware! These scams are typically done after hours. Be sure to not rely on the caller ID because it be easily manipulated. Be sure to let the senior citizens in your life know about this and other scams. Let them know to never give personal information over the phone.
Want to get more information on scams? AARP suggests the following: “For information about other scams, sign up for the Fraud Watch Network. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud, and keep tabs of scams and law enforcement alerts in your area at our Scam-Tracking Map.”