Scammers Guilty of the Jury Duty Phone Scam
In recent months there has been an increase in reports of the jury duty phone scam across the country. This scam has been in the phone scammer's playbook for decades, and now it seems it's making a resurgence.
How the Scam Starts
It starts with a call from an alleged court official or sheriff, the caller ID may even show that it's your local district court calling. They caller informs you that you missed your jury summons and now you're being fined, or worse going to be arrested, for avoiding your civic duty. The caller is hoping that you'll panic and second guess yourself, maybe you did mix your juror summons up with some junk mail and tossed it. The caller will demand that you give personal information, such as your address and social security number, and possibly ask you to pay the fine via wire transfer or prepaid debit cards.
Keep These Facts In Mind
It's important to not panic if you get a call like this and just hang up. Keep in mind these facts to protect yourself from the jury duty phone scam.
Courts will never request personal information via phone.
You might have to fill out some paperwork or a questionnaire once you report for jury duty, but the U.S. courts will never call you and ask for information such as your social security number, place of work, home address, etc.
Notice of jury duty will be delivered by U.S. mail.
If you're called to serve on a jury you'll receive notice of this via U.S. mail with instructions on when and where you must report for duty. If you feel that there may be a chance that you have lost your jury duty information then you should contact your local federal district court.
If you fail to respond to a jury summons or show up to jury duty you could be fined or face jail time, but you will be sent an official summons from court if this happens.
It is against the law to miss jury duty without having a valid reason, and you could have to pay a fine or even go to jail if you are found to be in civil contempt of court by a judge. Before this ever happens you will be first given a hearing date in court, and a judge will decide if you are guilty. You will never under any circumstances be called and demanded to pay a fine without prior notice.
The two best ways to protect yourself from this scam are to not ignore your jury summons, if you do get one, and hang up if anyone says they're calling from the local or federal court about failure to report for jury duty.
Jury duty can be postponed if there is a schedule conflict, and if you have financial hardships or are unable to serve for any other reason let the court know when responding to your summons. Most likely if you have a valid reason for not being able to serve the court will excuse you. By doing this you'll save yourself from the doubt which has made the jury duty scam successful in the past.
What to Do If You've Been Targeted
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.
You can also help warn others by downloading and reporting scam calls in CallerSmart's iPhone phone number tracer app. If you don't have an iPhone you can still run a reverse phone number lookup on our website and leave your feedback.