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Telephone jury duty scam making the rounds…again

By Leigh Goessl     Aug 26, 2013 in Business
Jury duty scams have been making the rounds for years. Recently, this type of fraud has made a comeback in many states. Scammers typically call their victims by telephone.
An oldie, but goodie, scam has resurfaced─the telephone jury duty scam. While most frauds these days occur online, some schemes still rely upon the use of the good old-fashioned telephone.
The jury duty scam is one such scheme.
This scam involves a swindler calling up a person, typically impersonating law enforcement. The caller tells the individual they've missed jury duty and a warrant has been issued for their arrest.
Of course the individual had no idea they were supposed to report to jury duty, because they were never summoned. This fraud is a classic social engineering trick scammers use in order to commit identity or financial theft.
This type of scam pops up every few years, usually with a slight variation in the modus operandi. In the most recent variation, the scammers are demanding pre-paid debit cards from their victims in order to avoid arrest.
Many victims, or would-be victims, in several U.S. states have reported recent incidents.
According to WBTV, a North Carolina woman recently fell prey to this scam.
"He [the caller] said this is Lieutenant Tom Allen. He said I have a warrant for your arrest because you did not show up for your jury duty summons. I said I didn't get one," the unidentified woman told WBTV.
The caller instructed her to get a $443 pre-paid debit card from Wal-Greens and scrape the numbers, giving him the code. It wasn't long before she realized she was scammed.
In Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported several residents have been targeted by a similar scam this week. No one fell for the scam, but many residents did say they received calls from people claiming to be police officers. A similar strategy was used where the caller instructed their targets to get a pre-paid card from Wal-Greens or Walmart. Additionally, the callers provided detailed information regarding names, addresses and homes. All information that could have been gotten from Google Maps or property tax records.
Tennessee residents are also receiving calls saying people have missed jury duty. WATE reported Knox County officials say it is a scam. And Illinois is seeing these scams in recent weeks as well. All of them seem to use similar approaches when targeting victims.
“They direct them to go to a certain facility, like maybe a drug store or some other facility, and buy a prepaid card, some sort of prepaid credit card, and then call them back with the information on the card and other identifying information,” said U.S. District Court Chief Judge David Herndon.
“[This] allows the scam artist to then obtain money from that prepaid card and perhaps other identifying information that allows them to access perhaps some other assets of the victim,” Herndon added, reported CBS Local in St. Louis.
Other states are also seeing telephone jury duty scams emerging, according to Network World.
This scam has emerged a number of times over the past several years. The most recent scams appear to be geared towards financial fraud, but these scammers also have designed their tactics to commit identity fraud. Previous scare tactics have included scammers trying to elicit personal information from their targets, typically asking for information such as a birthday, Social Security number or other personal information.
Authorities warn if you receive one of these calls to hang up and not give any information. No police offer will ever call demanding money for missing jury duty. If you are concerned the phone call might be legit, you can always call your local court and inquire if you were summoned for jury duty.
But chances are you were not. Summons and notices generally come through regular mail, note officials.
More about jury duty scam, Scam, Jury duty, telephone jury duty scam, Telephones
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