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The Verdict Is...It's A Scam


The warning of your imminent arrest is intended to scare you into making the usual response: I never received a jury duty summons. Then, claiming to want to clear up the matter, the caller asks you to verify your identity — by providing  your Social Security number, birth date and possibly bank or credit card account numbers. Revealing such details can help the caller  steal your identity and get credit cards, loans and medical services in your name and at your expense.

As in other telephone scams, the jury duty ruse can appear authentic because your caller ID screen may indicate that the call is coming from a local courthouse. That's because the caller is using  "spoofing" products — widely sold on the Internet — that allow the display of any phone number and name on your caller ID.


But the universal verdict from officials is this: Hang up without providing any personal information. You can be sure these calls are phony. Here's why:

  • Authentic "no-show" summonses for missed jury duty are nearly always delivered by mail. In rare instances when actual court officials may telephone you, they won't ask for personal information.
  • Legitimate officials don't give a heads-up warning about an impending arrest.
  • Real court officials would call during office hours, not in the evening when many of these calls occur. Scammers, gleaning names and addresses from phone books or public records, often call after hours when people are more likely to be home.

If you receive a call about missing jury duty, you can authenticate it by looking up the courthouse number yourself. Call and ask for the jury duty coordinator or court clerk's office. Report scam calls to your courthouse and the state attorney general's office.

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