Jury duty telephone scam being seen

Published 9:55 am Friday, July 20, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Cecilia Willis, Clerk of Courts for Decatur County, said her office has had two reports of fraudulent phone calls being received by Decatur County citizens regarding their jury duty.

Willis said the calls are coming from people trying to commit identity theft, and/or gain access to checking accounts or credit card accounts.

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The ruse is as follows: the citizen is contacted and told they failed to report to jury duty and have been assessed a fine. Payment options are offered, including drafts from checking accounts or credit cards. The scammers ask for confidential information, for “verification purposes,” and if the information is refused they tell the potential victim a warrant will be issued for his or her arrest.

Willis said that neither she, or any member of her staff, will call jurors that have failed to report for jury duty. Jurors who fail to report are generally visited by a deputy from the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office.

Jurors are sometimes contacted in order to dismiss them for the remainder of a court term, but the prospective juror will not ask for any personal information, such as Social Security number, bank account number or credit card information.

“Please never give out your personal information to any court official over the phone,” Willis said. “The Decatur County Clerk’s Office will never call and request any personal information, banking information, Social Security number, date of birth, or credit card information from citizens over the telephone.

“The only phone calls that will come from the Clerk’s Office are those for juror information only, such as when to report for jury duty or when not to report.”

Notices for jury duty will arrive via mail and can be confirmed with a phone call to the Clerk’s Office at (229) 248-3025.

Please report any suspicious activity to the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office at (229) 248-3044 or Bainbridge Public Safety at (229) 248-2038.