Jury Duty Scam Still Effective

AARP Fraud Watch Network warns consumers of missed jury duty calls

Jul 02, 2015, 12:06 ET from AARP Illinois

CHICAGO, July 2, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jury duty is a necessary civic responsibility, which is why scammers continue to use jury duty as an efficient means to con consumers out of their hard-earned money and personal information. Though being used for the past decade, the scam remains one of the most successful fear-provoking scams around and it's historically used during the summer months.

"Scammers know the right way to phrase fraudulent phone calls to convince you they're real deputy marshals and that you really do face a likely arrest for skipping jury duty," said AARP Communications Director Gerardo Cardenas. "The scam has been around long enough for scammers to know what tricks to use to get you to pay off your 'fine.' These calls increase during the summer time because of increased vacation and holiday leave."

The scam normally beings with a phone call—though emails and letters are sometimes used—notifying the consumer of a pending arrest because they didn't report for jury duty. The call seems authentic due to caller ID spoofing, which makes the name and number appear to be coming from a courthouse or law enforcement agency. To avoid arrest, the scammer demands you pay a fine via credit card, wire transfer, or prepaid debit card. They also often ask to you provide your Social Security number, date of birth, and other personal information to verify their records. Not only do the scammers steal your money, but your identity too!

Should you receive one of these phone calls hang up immediately because:

  • Official notifications ordering you to serve jury duty are done by U.S. mail, no-show summonses are delivered the same way.
  • Jury duty officials don't ask for Social Security numbers, birth dates, or other personal information over a phone call.
  • Police officials don't call in advance of an arrest.
  • Keep in mind that most jury duty scam calls come in the evening after the courthouse has closed and its employees have gone home. 

In 2014, AARP launched the Fraud Watch Network to arm Americans with the tools and resources they need to spot and avoid scams and identity theft. But scammers are still out there, making every attempt possible to cheat consumers out of their hard-earned money. The public can sign up for free to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts and more at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.