If you receive a call from someone claiming you missed jury duty, but don't recall receiving a summons, beware. AARP’s Bulletin Today reports that there are two different varieties for this scam, one is a traditional attempt to steal identities, the other is designed to extort money. Either way, both scams begin with a phone call.
The AARP article reminds readers of how this scam can be spotted immediately. “[T]he police never give advance warning by telephone of impending arrest nor personally solicit the payment of fines. And in rare cases where a legitimate court employee calls about scheduled jury duty, you will not be asked for sensitive information such as your SSN.”
Identity theft version
In the original version of this scam, a telephone caller identifies himself as an employee of the local court and tells you that you have not appeared for jury duty. The caller then asks for personal information such as date of birth and social security number to verify your identity.
Another variant of the scam begins in the same way as the traditional version, but the caller says you must immediately pay a fine to avoid having an arrest warrant issued. The AARP article warns consumers that payment may be demanded via a Green Dot MoneyPak card. Green Dot MoneyPak is a legitimate payment service, but in 2011 Daily Finance warned that the cards had become the scammers payment method of choice.
Avoiding the scam
This lucrative scam has been around for years and in 2005, a Minnesota court issued a warning about it. Over the years, many other courts and states have issued similar warnings. The warnings always give the same suggestions to avoid the scam. First, hang up if you receive such a call. If you are uncertain about whether you have received a jury summons or not, look up the number for the court and call them directly. The jury duty scam is not the only telephone-based threat, so never give personal information to a telephone caller.
In addition to his columns on Examiner.com, Terry Ambrose (themysterywriter.com) also writes mysteries and suspense. The San Francisco Book Review said of his latest novel, “On all levels License to Lie justifiably earned this five-star rating!”