There’s a new scam going around whereby hundreds of people have received calls around the nation threatening them with an arrest warrant because of missing jury duty, as reported by ABC News.
According to the Beverly Hills Police Department, people have been getting phone calls and being threatened with arrest warrants from callers who claim they are the police. Those scam phone callers tell people that they have an arrest warrant outstanding due to missing jury duty. That’s when those who are on the receiving end of the scam phone calls are told that they need to pay a fine for missing jury duty, and if they don’t pay the money order or wire money to the scammers, they will be arrested.
“The Beverly Hills Police Department has been advised that citizens are receiving phone calls from individuals who are representing themselves as Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employees. The caller usually tells the citizen that there has been a warrant issued for their arrest for failure to appear for Jury Duty. The caller will tell the victim that they have to pay a sum of money or deputies will come and arrest them. The caller will instruct the victim to either get a Money Order, conduct a wire transfer, or buy a Gift Card (usually Green Dot) and send it to ‘pay the fine.'”
The jury duty scam is just that — a big scam. When citizens are contacted about jury duty issues, they generally receive official documents in the mail explaining how to report for jury duty, not phone calls from random people claiming to represent police officials. Those jury duty documents include instructions on how to be excused from jury duty, along with ways to check valid websites that let citizens know when or if it’s their turn to serve jury duty.
The Beverly Hills Police Department went on to warn people that the police and government don’t call people on the phone and try to get them to pay fines. Nor will the police call and ask citizens to send money orders or gift cards or ask them to pay via a wire transfer for any kind of fine.
“BE ALERT, BE ADVISED, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or any Government Agency will NEVER call and solicit money for fines. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does not solicit warrant information by phone. The Sheriff’s Department or any Government Agency will NEVER ask you to get a Money Order, Gift Card, or wire transfer. Sheriff Department personnel will never go to your home to collect a fee for a warrant.”
The latest jury duty scam has a new twist, reports the AARP, because it warns about a marshal coming to arrest the phone call recipient over missed jury duty. The new twists are made on the jury duty scam, which dates back a decade, and has been called one of the most successful scams because of the fear-mongering it produces. Hundreds of people have been scammed, because the scammers also use “spoofing,” the ability to fake the Caller ID screen’s phone number — making it seem like the call is coming from an official IRS agent or other official entity. Instead, the call is coming from the scammer’s location.
The jury duty scam is similar to an Internal Revenue Service scam that has also been used over the years. That scam involved people posing as IRS agents, targeting hundreds of thousands of people on the phone and saying they’ll go to jail if they don’t pay some fine. That scam cost taxpayers $15.5 million, and thousands of people fell for the tax scam.
Phone scam alert - caller says they're law enforcement & asks for info (SSN, DOB) or $ for jury duty, warrant, etc. pic.twitter.com/isgcvAVUzM— BoulderCountySheriff (@BldrCOSheriff) September 11, 2015
Becoming aware of scammers that call, trying to “phish” for information for identity theft and gain monies through fake jury duty fines, makes people one step closer to not being duped.
[AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File]