“He sounded really authentic and he told me I had missed jury duty,” she said.
Now she owed a whopper of a fine and was hours away from being hauled off to jail, or so she thought.
“There is going to be a police car at your house,” she said. “He is on your way to arrest you.”
Why are Jury Duty Scams so Effective?
Like most scams, the Jury Duty Scam is believable. By using a fake caller ID, the scammer can even make it look like an official call. And in some scenarios, scammers may also send fake letters or email messages instead of calling you. Due to technology, advanced caller ID spoofing or phishing seem to be authentic at a glance. Their goal is to make you say those seven golden words: “I never received a jury duty order.”
Here are some of the signs to help you recognize you are being scammed:
- The scammer might accuse you of skipping a mandatory jury duty. To avoid consequences such as imminent arrest you will be asked to pay a fee.
- The scammer will ask for your personal information such as your real name, mother’s maiden name, date of birth and social security number to verify that you appeared for jury duty. There are instances when you might have missed a legal mandated jury duty and you receive a phone call from a ‘real’ government official. Here’s the catch, they will never ask for personal information or any payment of fines over the phone.
How to protect yourself from ‘Jury Duty’ scams?
Do not panic because if you do, you will lose the battle to protect yourself against the scammer.
Jury Duty scams are so common that even the United States court had to issue a notice to warn citizens about it. If you ever get a phone call from a person pretending to be a government official, here is what you should do:
- HANG UP! Yes, you now know that they will provoke you to provide personal and other confidential information. Before they get to that point, hang up the phone. If by some chance, the call is authentic (highly unlikely), the court will understand.
- In case the scammer decides to send an email, you should know what it is. In most cases, an official jury duty summon is delivered via mail. An email would only be sent out if the mail is returned to the sender for unknown reasons. Nevertheless, you will never be asked for your personal or financial information.
- If they ask to make payments using a debit/credit card or via wire transfer, you are being scammed. The best way is to never make any payments as an official jury duty will not ask you for any payment or fines.
If you are still unsure, contact your local law enforcement agency. The ‘real’ government officials will ensure that you are protected from such fraudulent schemes.