U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Marshals Service Warn of Jury Duty Phone Scam
Montgomery, Ala. – Twice this week a criminal impersonated a U.S. Marshal and threatened senior citizens, announced U.S. Attorney George L. Beck Jr., and U.S. Marshal Thomas Hession, both of the Middle District of Alabama. The basics of the scam are simple: the criminal contacts the victim, tells the victim that he or she has missed federal jury duty, and demands the victim pay a fine to avoid being arrested.
To make the scheme believable, the scammer provides the victim with factual information such as the title and badge number of a law enforcement officer or court official, the name of a federal judge, and the courthouse address. Scammers are even using technology to mask their phone number on caller ID and make it appear as if the call is actually coming from the court or a government agency. This tactic is called “spoofing” and has become very common with scammers nationwide. In some cases, the scammer may carry the scheme out via email with an official looking email address.
The U.S. Marshals have received several calls inquiring about this scheme over the past few days and are advising the public that this is a scam. If you receive a jury duty related call or email, do not provide any personal information or send money. The Federal Courts do not call or email prospective jurors or ask for money or personal information and they never serve an arrest warrant by phone. Real, valid arrest warrants are always served in person. The court also does not demand the payment of money in lieu of arrest, nor does it accept payment via prepaid card.
Anyone that receives a “Jury Duty Scam” phone call or email should report it right away to their local United States Marshals Service office, or the local FBI office. If available, please have the caller ID or email address information of the scammer when you call. Here, in Montgomery, the public can report the scam to the U.S. Marshals at (334) 223-3094.