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Beware of Jury Duty Scams

courtroom

Jury duty is a civic responsibility for U.S. citizens that enables the courts to serve justice in a fair and efficient manner. Unfortunately, it is also used as cover for scams. Here’s what you need to know about jury duty scams.

How the scam plays out

A scammer impersonates a court or law enforcement official, claiming the victim has failed to show up for jury duty. They threaten immediate arrest unless a fine is paid by credit card, prepaid debit card or money transfer. Unfortunately for the victim, the money they pay will go directly into the scammer’s pockets.

Scammers will sometimes also ask for the victim’s personal information for the alleged purpose of checking court records. The scammer will then use this information to steal the victim’s identity.

How to spot the scam

Fortunately, with some basic information, you can learn to spot jury duty scams. Here’s what you need to know about jury duty summonses:

  • Failure to appear for jury duty is not grounds for immediate arrest.
  • Federal courts do not require anyone to provide sensitive information by phone.
  • Jury duty summonses and notices about failure to appear are sent through the USPS mail.
  • Citizens are not required to pay a fine for missing jury duty without first being given the chance to explain in court.
  • Court officials will never demand payment by phone or specific means.

Protect yourself from scams

  • Never share personal or financial information over the phone or via email to an unverified party.
  • Never pay an alleged fine by prepaid gift card or money transfer.
  • When in doubt, call a court official yourself.

If you’ve been targeted

Reach out to relevant federal, state or local courts to verify you have not actually missed a jury duty summons. They will likely confirm your suspicions about the scam. Do not engage with the scammer. If they left a callback number, ignore it. Also, delete emails and mark them as spam. Finally, notify your local courts and law enforcement agencies about the scam.

Jury duty is a civic responsibility for most Americans. Don’t let scammers use it as a cover to trick you out of your money. Stay alert and stay safe!

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