The jury duty scam is predominantly an identity theft, although can also be an opportunity to steal money as well.
The scammers use the phone to ring people to try and get them to reveal their birth date, Social Security number, and credit card numbers - as well as possibly other personal information.
The jury duty scam has been very successful because it uses fear by stating that you have failed to report for jury duty and there is a warrant for your arrest.
Most people are shocked when they hear this. They don't consider themselves a criminal and want it sorted out quickly.
Facing the unexpected threat of arrest catches most people off guard.
The scammer, of course, can sort it out once you verify who you are and possibly pay a fine to make the matter go away.
Your phone rings and when you answer it, the person on the other end says they are an officer of the court.
They say that you have failed to report for jury duty and a warrant is out for your arrest.
Despite you telling them you never received a notice, they advise that one was sent and reiterate the seriousness of the matter.
To try and clear it up, the caller will ask for some information for verification purposes that will include your full name, date of birth and Social Security number.
They now have all the information they need for identity theft.
The caller may then state that you can avoid being arrested if you pay an instant fine. To do that you will need to provide them with your credit card details.
This provides them another opportunity to use your personal information for fraudulent purposes.
The jury duty scam is a simple one - scare you first, then the scammer provides a solution in the form of identity verification and a fine.
Remember that court officers never ask for personal or confidential information over the phone. Courts normally follow up with potential jurors and no-show jurors by mail.
Warnings about the jury duty scam scam have been posted on the FBI website and the U.S. Courts Websites posted the message below:
parts of the United States, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and
threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in
federal or state courts.
In the calls, the threat of a fine for shirking jury service is used to coerce those called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls are not from real court officials.
Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. 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.
If you are unsure about a telephone call: