Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal has issued a warning to local citizens that a “jury duty telephone scam” is being played out in recent days and advises them not to be alarmed if they receive such bogus calls (or emails).
“It is a scam that is targeting people, telling them they will be jailed for failure to report as a federal court juror,” said Royal, explaining that the caller browbeats the victim in an effort to gain confidential information that could lead to identity theft and financial fraud.
He said the caller (or emailer) threatens punishment including arrest.
“In various parts of the United States, including right here, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and emails, threatening them with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts,” Royal said.
In the phone calls and emails, recipients are pressured to provide confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. The calls and emails, which threaten recipients with fines and jail time if they do not comply, are fraudulent and are not connected with legitimate U.S. courts, Royal said.
“Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call or email,” said Royal. “Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.”
Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens, the sheriff said.
“However, it is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official,” said Royal. “The federal judiciary takes seriously such an offense.”
Anyone receiving such a telephone call or email should not provide the requested information and should notify the clerk of court’s office of the U.S. District Court in their area, he said.
Contact information for federal courts may be found through directory assistance, the phone book or on-line at the U.S. Courts web page.