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Jury-duty call scam making rounds

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POSTED: March 11, 2014 10:30 p.m.

A jury-duty scam has hit Liberty County. An unidentified company is calling residents of Liberty County posing as an officer of the local court system, according to Liberty County Clerk of Courts Barry Wilkes.
On the call, the caller will say that “you failed to report for jury duty and a warrant is out for your arrest.” When the resident responds that they never received a jury summons or notice to appear in court, the caller will tell them that to avoid being fined or incarcerated, the resident needs to provide “some information for ‘verification purposes,’ which includes your birthdate, Social Security number and even a credit-card number.”
“This is when you should hang up the phone,” Wilkes said, “because it’s a scam used to obtain information from you for fraudulent purposes and to bilk you through credit-card and financial-transaction fraud.”
Wilkes said he, his staff and employees of Liberty County Sheriff Steve Sikes’ office regularly contact jurors concerning jury duty but never ask potential jurors to provide confidential information over the phone for identification purposes.
Anyone who receives a call from a person who says he or she works for the clerk of courts’ office or the sheriff’s office and asks for confidential information for verification purposes or otherwise should note the caller’s phone number, hang up and do not talk to them. Then, the person should immediately call the sheriff’s office at 876-2131 and report the suspected scam call.
With enough information, scammers can assume a victim’s identity and empty his or her bank accounts.
“Under no circumstances should you give out personal or credit-card information to anyone during an unsolicited phone call,” Wilkes said.
According to the Federal Bureau of Information, jury scams have been around for years, but there has been a recent resurgence.
Communities in more than a dozen states have issued public warnings about cold calls from people claiming to be court officials seeking personal information.
As a rule, court officers never ask for confidential information over the phone but, instead, generally correspond with prospective jurors via mail.

 

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