The Office of Jury Commissioner (OJC) and local law enforcement agencies regularly receive complaints from people who have been exposed to jury duty scams that are designed to defraud victims of money or personal information.
Common features of jury duty scams
There are several common features to jury duty scams:
- The caller identifies themself as an officer, often a supervisor, in a court or law enforcement agency, such as the local police or sheriff’s office, such as “Major Paul Stevens” or “Officer Susan Smith.”
- The caller may “spoof” the local court or sheriff’s phone number, so that the victim’s Caller ID says the call is coming from the court or sheriff’s department when it actually isn't. Alternatively, the caller may give a phone number or address that actually belongs to a court or law enforcement agency, causing the victim who checks the information to believe the call is genuine.
- The caller tells the victim that the victim has missed jury duty and will be arrested unless a fine is paid. The victim is told to purchase a money card, such as a “MoneyPak” or “Green Dot” card, and provide the caller with the authorization code. These cards are the equivalent of cash, and once the caller has the code, the scammer claims the money and it can't be recovered. Alternatively, the caller may claim that someone close to the victim, such as a spouse or child, has failed to perform jury duty and will soon be arrested. When the victim protests that the family member hasn't missed jury duty, the caller asks for a Social Security Number or other personal information to confirm that the correct person is scheduled for arrest.
Avoiding jury duty scams
You should never provide personal information or financial authorizations over the phone. The OJC never contacts jurors by phone. Notices are always sent via mail, and multiple warnings, from both the OJC and the courts, are sent over a period of months or even years before an arrest warrant or fine would be issued. Jurors who have received a Delinquency Notice or an Application for Complaint are instructed to contact the OJC to resolve their delinquency, either by serving or proving a legitimate disqualification. Only a judge can order a fine, and collection would never take place over the phone.
Anyone who receives a call demanding money to resolve a warrant or failure to perform jury service should contact their local police or call the OJC at (617) 422-5860.
|Last updated:||April 25, 2018|