Being selected for jury service can cause many people anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, scam artists know the added pressure associated with jury duty can make people lower their defenses and become more susceptible to fraud. Victims are caught off guard with the unexpected threat of arrest and may be quick to part with personal information or money to defuse the situation.
Most jury service scams start with a phone call where the caller identifies him or herself as an officer of the court, local police department, or representative from your district attorney’s office. He or she says you have failed to report for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for your arrest. Most individuals instinctively reply they never received a notice which cues the caller to ask for personal identifying information, such as your birth date and social security number for “verification purposes”. After acquiring your personal identifying information, some scammers then proceed to tell you they can clear your record if you pay a fine by credit card or money transmittal service. Other times you may be asked to get a rechargeable or prepaid card worth a substantial amount of money, provide the scammer with the prepaid card account number and pin, and send it by certified mail to the local clerk of court. These scammers are able to fraudulently remove the money prior to the card reaching its destination, rendering the card useless and the scammer untraceable.
Other jury service scams may come via email notifying the recipient that they failed to appear and can find further information by clicking a link. Do Not Click! Hovering your mouse over the link in the email will reveal that it's most likely malware or even ransomware. If the link shows a website url it could be a fraudulent website trying to collect your personal information. Do not reply to the notice, or click on links within the email, instead contact your local court directly. Colorado court information is available at https://www.courts.state.co.us.
Jury service scams have been around for years. It’s important to remember that court officers, police officers, and other government representatives will never ask for confidential information over the phone. Most contact with prospective jurors will be through the U.S. mail.
If you receive a suspicious call or email you may wish to report it to your local law enforcement, district attorney, or local district court office. Victims may also want to contact their local FBI field office or visit the Identity Theft Fraud Center for more information.
If you believe you have been victimized by a scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.