Be Skeptical of a Call Regarding Jury Duty Fines.
It may be a scam.
A Cautionary Tale –
You’ve just finished dinner and are relaxing in your favorite chair when the telephone rings. You notice the caller ID reads Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which happens to be the county you live in. That’s odd, you think. Why would the sheriff’s office be calling you? You answer the telephone a bit anxiously, “Hello.”
“Hello. This is Sheriff Brown calling to notify you that you missed showing up for your mandatory jury duty, which is a violation of statue 35729B. The penalty for missing jury duty is spending the next 90 days in jail.”
You gasp and sit up straight in your chair. “What! I – I never received any notice,” you declare in your most convincing voice.
You hear the shuffling of papers and then the person on the other line continues, “Let me see, here. I’ll need to verify your information to make sure this is correct then.”
Your hopes soar as you think to yourself that this must be a terrible mistake.
“What is your name, ma’am?”
You clear your throat and answer, “Sarah Reynolds.”
“Your date of birth and address, please.” After you answer, the sheriff asks for your social security number, then says, “I’m sorry ma’am, but it looks like we’ve got the right person, and you will either have to face the jail time or pay the fine.”
Your ears perk up. A fine? So, maybe you can get out of the jail time! You quickly respond, “Yes, I want to just pay the fine. How much is it?”
This is a jury duty scam. Don’t fall for it.
These scammers try to deceive people out of their money and steal their identity. They falsely pose as sheriffs, marshals, or courthouse staff and threaten people with jail time if they don’t pay the fine.
Do not believe anyone who makes this type of call.
- No official will call you if you miss jury duty
- Officials send letters instead if you miss jury duty
- Even if a judge did write a bench warrant for your arrest, it would occur during a routine traffic stop or other such setting
- Sheriffs don’t settle fines over the phone
The people who operate these frauds not only attempt to take people’s money, but they try to get identifying information about people too. This allows them to commit future crimes with your stolen identity.
So, if your phone rings and someone begins to tell you they need money because you missed jury duty, simply hang up right away. Don’t be fooled by the scammers.
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