Because there are real penalties for skipping jury duty, the caller behind this scam uses the fear of jail time or other legal action to bully their victims.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 15, 2013
Scambook, the Internet's leading complaint resolution platform, is warning consumers to be on guard for an identity theft phone scam involving jury duty, a version of a similar fraud scheme dating back at least to 2005. Police in Gadsden, Alabama stated that the newer scam calls have recently been reported in multiple states including Oklahoma, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona and Oregon*.
Victims are claiming that a caller identifies themselves as a "jury duty coordinator" who then proceeds to question them about recent jury duty summons, and can even claim the victim has missed their jury duty and must face legal consequences.
Once the victim becomes confused, the scammer asks them to provide a Social Security number and date of birth to "verify" the victim's information. The scammer may also mention an arrest warrant or make other additional threats as an intimidation tactic.
"Because there are real penalties for skipping jury duty, the caller behind this scam uses the fear of jail time or other legal action to bully their victims," said Kase Chong, Scambook's Director of Marketing. "As with most phone scams, senior citizens are especially at risk because they're less likely to question a caller impersonating the government, but anyone who is eligible for jury duty may be targeted."
The purpose of the scam is to obtain the victim's Social Security number and birth date. Together, this information can be used for identity theft, tax fraud, hacking into bank accounts or other illegal purposes.
To avoid falling for this jury duty phone scam, Scambook advises the following:
1. Understand that jury duty is always arranged by mailed letters, not phone calls. If consumers are expecting a jury summons and worry that it was lost in the mail, they are advised to hang up on the caller and get information directly from their local courthouse.
2. An official government representative will never be rude, bully people or make threats. This is not the behavior of a legitimate government employee and is always a warning sign. Victims who are being harassed over the phone are advised to contact their local law enforcement to report the issue.
3. Never give private personal information, such as Social Security number, over the phone. A real official or court representative will not call to request this information.
4. Never give money, either in the form of a credit card number or wire transfer, to an unsolicited caller. In other variations of this jury duty scam, the caller requests money to pay various fees. This is a big red flag as legitimate court officials will not do this.
5. If in doubt, get the caller's information, do independent fact-checking and call back. Ask for caller’s name, phone number or extension and their manager's contact information. Then look them up on the internet or by calling the local county courthouse. If the caller does turn out to be a real government representative, consumers will be able to call them back.
For more information, Scambook suggests consumers visit the website of their county courthouse, state attorney general or visit http://www.uscourts.gov to learn about legitimate juror protocol or recent jury summons.
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.
*Thorton, William; Gadsden Police Warn About Jury Duty Identity Theft Scam; http://blog.al.com/east-alabama/2013/05/gadsden_police_warn_about_jury.html