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ID Thieves Dial Up Jury Duty Phone Scam

POSTED: 3:16 pm EDT October 6, 2005
UPDATED: 12:29 pm EDT October 7, 2005

LANCASTER, Pa. -- Investigators are warning about a new scam that preys on your sense of civic responsibility.

According to WGAL-TV in Lancaster, a jury-duty scam could make you a victim of identity theft.

Victims get a phone call from a scammer identifying themselves as a court officer, the television station reported.

The scammer then tells the victim that they have failed to appear for jury duty.

"The threat is because you have failed to show up for jury duty, the person is acting as if they are from the local courthouse and they need this information to process and get you back on the rolls," said Deputy Pennsylvania Attorney General Frank Donaghue.

In order to do that, the scammer starts to ask for personal information, including address, phone number and Social Security number.

"For a lot of people, there is a sense of shock that they didn't know they have been called for jury duty, and, certainly, they want to give up that type of information out of civic duty," Donaghue said.

In some cases, the scam artists will push a reluctant victim by telling that a bench warrant has been issued for their arrest because they didn't show up for jury duty.

But the fact of the matter is, most correspondence regarding jury duty is done through the mail, not over the phone, the television station reported.

"It's going to be very rare when a court official is going to call you and ask you any questions relating to jury duty at all. You're going to receive that information in the mail," Donaghue said.

While several Pennsylvania residents have been approached with this scam, the state attorney general's office says, fortunately, no one has fallen victim to it.

Citizens are advised to never give out personal information to unsolicited parties over the phone or by e-mail.
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