Did You Skip Out On Jury Duty?

Safety Alert! Have you received a jury summons lately? While none of us typically gets excited about spending a day at the courthouse waiting to see if we will be selected to sit through a trial for mere pennies a day while our work stacks up at the office, the To-Do list doesn't get To-Do-ed, and the kids are pawned off at the neighbors after school. But jury duty is an important service for all of us to do, at least once.

Most of us take the summons for jury duty seriously and civilly, and those are the citizens I'd want on MY jury! But these days, more people are skipping out of this civic duty, so juror beware - a new and ominous scam has surfaced and it is pointing directly at you.

I checked out the email below on the FBI website concerning a "Jury Duty Scam." Well, it appears this is a true warning, and may the jury-summoned be aware that this is happening, for real. The FBI warning is posted on their website at: http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel05/092805.htm

Here's the scam:

A telephone caller will claim to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scam asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so they can verify the information and cancel your arrest warrant. Giving out any of this personal information means that your identity may have just been stolen.

The scam has been reported in 11 US states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, and California. This scam is particularly interesting because by pretending they're with the court system, the caller uses "legal" intimidation (by phone) to bully you into giving out your personal information. The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning citizens about this fraud.

What to do? Well, never ignore your jury summons for one, and don't let guilt steer you in the wrong direction. Call or go by your local courthouse and inquire about a jury summons that was supposedly sent to you. Don't be afraid of the local court system - if you have not done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. And just because you are there, it doesn't mean they will sign you up on the spot for jury duty! Remember that our court system is here to protect our freedom. The crooks and the scams are the ones who violate that protection. Stay positive and be glad to donate a small part of your time when asked to participate on a jury. But never hesitate to question situations like this, and always quickly end phone calls like this scam - always.

Posted October 2007 | Permanent Link

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