Missed Jury Duty: Phone Scam Overview
If you are a U.S. citizen, 18-years-old and older, you may be summoned for jury duty. Many people dread their jury summons and may even choose to ignore it. Having to skip work to sit on a jury could pose financial hardships, or perhaps you may be traveling during the period in which you were summoned. Whatever your reason for not being able to serve on jury duty is, you should never ignore your summons.
If you do ignore your jury duty service you could be making yourself vulnerable to scammers, and actual legal problems. Here's how you can identify jury duty phone scams.
A Call at Work or Home
A caller claiming to be from your local law enforcement or county clerk's office will call you and inform you that because you missed your jury duty you now face jail time. The caller gives you the option of immediately paying a fine to avoid such legal problems, many people will panic and pay this "fine" without questioning the scammer's story.
The jury duty phone call is also often referred to as the sheriff's office phone scam because typically the scammer is disguising their number as your local sheriff's phone number using caller ID spoofing.
Noticing the Red Flags
It's important to remember these three things when you get a call from someone claiming that you missed jury duty:
- Courts will never ask for personal information from you over the phone.You made need to fill out a questionnaire when you report for jury duty, but this will never be over the phone.
- Your jury duty summons will always be delivered by U.S. mail.You will always receive your jury duty summons by mail and if you do not then you do not have jury duty. If you feel that you may have lost of misplaced your summons you can contact your local federal district court.
- You could be arrested or fined for missing jury duty, but you will always be sent an official court summons before any of this happens. There could be real legal consequences if you ignore your summons, it's always best to report to jury duty and if you have a valid reason for not being able to serve you are usually excused.
Who to Contact
If you've been contacted by a jury duty scammer you should report it immediately to the Clerk of Court's office of your local U.S. District Court and your local law enforcement if the caller was impersonating them.
You can also help warn others by reporting scam calls in CallerSmart's iPhone caller ID app. If you don't have an iPhone you can still run a reverse phone look up on our website and leave your feedback.