Police Get Reports After Schemers Prey On Jury Duty Fears

7:05 PM, Feb 28, 2013   |    comments
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Davidson County, NC-- A phone recording and text message making their rounds in Davidson County is duping neighbors and even tripping up local law enforcement.

Both the recording and the text sound official and have all the elements needed to scare even the most law abiding citizen.

The messages say you've missed jury duty; they've tried contacting you by mail, there's a warrant out for your arrest and you owe $500.

Those who respond to the message are led to a recording that reiterates the message.

If you stay on the phone long enough, you find out at the end that it's all a joke.

But there is a similar, real scheme out there that asks for your personal information to verify your identity and even asks for a credit card number to pay your fine.

"It is bold but it's something that they lend legitimacy to their scam," said Kevin Hinterberger, the president of the Greensboro Better Business Bureau. "So, if a consumer thinks that they are somehow going to be in trouble with local government and they believe that what they are hearing over the phone they are more likely to comply."

According to the website of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the real jury summons scheme has been around for years now. It pops up - then disappears.

The Davidson County Sheriff's Department had about four reports of the scheme this week but it turns out those people were fooled by the joke version.

There's no telling if the real scheme is in the area or when it may pop up again.

Hinterberger says it's always good practice to be vigilant.

"Scammers s have no scruples. They'll stop at nothing to get you to give them information so that they can separate you from your cash,' he said.

If you've ever missed jury duty, there is a possibility you could be fined. But it's general practice that courts do not call or text you about jury duty.

You will always be sent a letter. And another way to keep yourself from becoming a victim, is not calling numbers left on your voicemail or in text messages unless you're expecting it.

Instead, try finding the agency's number yourself and call and ask for the department the messenger said they are with.

 

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