Jury Duty Phone Scam Warning
Email forward warns that scammers are committing identity theft by phoning potential victims and threatening them with prosecution for failing to report for jury duty unless they reveal sensitive personal information (Full commentary below.
(Submitted, October 2005)
Jury Duty Scam
Here's a new twist scammers are using to commit identity theft: the jury duty scam. Here's how it works:
The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court and claims you've failed to report for jury duty. He tells you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.
The victim will often rightly claim they never received the jury duty notification. The scammer then asks the victim for confidential information for "verification" purposes.
Specifically, the scammer asks for the victim's Social Security number, birth date, and sometimes even for credit card numbers and other private information -- exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft.
So far, this jury duty scam has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state.
It's easy to see why this works. The victim is clearly caught off guard, and is understandably upset at the prospect of a warrant being issued for his or her arrest. So, the victim is much less likely to be vigilant about protecting their confidential information.
In reality, court workers will never call you to ask for social security numbers and other private information. In fact, most courts follow up via snail mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.
Action: Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information when you receive a telephone call. This jury duty scam is the latest in a series of identity theft scams where scammers use the phone to try to get people to reveal their Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information.
It doesn't matter *why* they are calling -- all the reasons are just different variants of the same scam.
Protecting yourself is simple: Never give this info out when you receive a phone call
Share this information with a Friend.
(Submitted, March 2006)
JURY DUTY SCAM
Please pass this on to everyone in your email address book. It is
spreading fast so be prepared should you get this call.
Most of us take those summons for jury duty seriously, but enough
people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced. Fall for it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS.
In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who
threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator.
If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Sometimes they even ask for credit card numbers. Give out any of this information and bingo! Your identity just got stolen.
The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.
Around August 2005 an email message began circulating that warned recipients about an identity theft scam involving jury duty. Some time later, a differently worded version of the warning also began circulating. The information contained in both messages is factual.
According to these email forwards, a scammer posing as a court official may telephone a potential victim claiming that he or she failed to appear for jury duty and that an arrest warrant has been issued. The scammer then attempts to trick the victim into revealing sensitive personal information such as a Social Security number, date of birth and other personal details. If the victim is coerced into revealing enough personal information, the scammer can then steal the person's identity.
Both the FBI and the U.S. Courts issued warnings about the scam in 2005. A US Courts News Release
from August 2005 confirms the information included in the messages:
In various 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.
An FBI Press Release
from September 2005 also warns US citizens about the scam.
In this scam, the fraudster attempts to capitalize on a potential victim's natural desire to protect him or herself from a wrongful conviction. Also, average law-abiding citizens are perhaps a little more willing to comply with requests from someone they perceive as a government or legal official.
Identity theft related telephone scams are not new nor are they confined to the Jury Duty ploy described above. In a similar telephone scam
, fraudsters attempt to obtain CVV2/CVC2 security numbers by phoning credit card holders and posing as security staff. In fact scammers have used a variety of tactics in order to trick people into revealing sensitive personal information in response to unsolicited phone calls.
Be wary of any
unsolicited phone call in which the caller requests sensitive personal information. It is highly unlikely that any government organization or legitimate company will request information such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or banking details via an unsolicited telephone call.
An effective strategy for dealing with a suspicious telephone call is to:
- Ask for the caller's name and department details and then terminate the call.
- Find a legitimate contact number for the organization via a telephone directory or other means. (Don't use a contact number provided by the caller).
- Call the organization and ask to speak to the original caller by name.
If the call was a scam, this tactic should prevent the fraudster from stealing your personal information. If the call turns out to be legitimate, you will still have the opportunity to deal with the issue as required.
WARNING: Bogus Phone Calls on Jury Service May Lead to Fraud
FBI: TELEPHONE FRAUD INVOLVING JURY DUTY
Visa & MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam
Daily Press: Jury duty telephone scam catches victims off guard
WNDU-TV: Jury duty scam
Write-up by Brett M.Christensen