Jan 16, 2008

The Verdict: Jury Duty Scams

This has been verified by the FBI (their link is also included below). It is spreading fast so be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced.

The caller claims to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo; your identity was just stolen.

In recent months, communities in Florida, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, California, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Hampshire reported scams or posted warnings or press releases on their local websites. In August, the federal court system issued a warning on the scam and urged people to call their local District Court office if they receive suspicious calls. In September, the FBI issued a press release about jury scams and suggested victims also contact their local FBI field office.

This swindle is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. Federal courts do not require anyone provide sensitive information over the phone. Most federal court contact with private citizens is done by mail.

Check it out here: http://www.fbi.gov/page2/june06/jury_scams060206.htm
And here: http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp



1 comment:

twithhoney said...

I had heard about this. One way to prevent such scams is if anyone calls you asking for information request a phone number where you can call them back and THEN you will give them the necessary information. Scammers usually give up at this point. You can also verify the phone number online before returning the phone call.

Legitimate callers will understand your concerns over identity theft and happily give you their name and a phone number to return their call.

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