Floridians warned about jury-duty scam
Published: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 2:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 2:18 p.m.
Floridians are being warned about a jury-duty scam playing out over telephones in several states. Those who get caught up in the scam could have their identities stolen.
Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson's office described the scam this way: "The scam typically involves a call from a person claiming to be a jury coordinator who informs the person being called that a warrant has been issued for his or her arrest as a result of the person's failure to appear for jury duty. When the intended victim protests and reports that he or she never received a summons to report for jury duty, they are asked for a Social Security number, a date of birth and sometimes even a bank account number."
"If you get such a call, hang up and avoid providing any personal or financial information over the phone," Bronson said in a news release issued Thursday. "Court workers don't call on the phone to inform you that you've missed a jury duty summons."
Once the scammers have someone's information, they can drain bank accounts, open up credit accounts and create other financial havoc for victims.
"This is a particularly insidious fraud because most people take jury duty seriously and naturally would want to clear up any misunderstanding about whether they failed to show up for it as quickly as possible," Bronson said. "Such a call would understandably upset most people, especially with the threat of arrest, and catch them off guard."
Although there had not been any reports of the scam in Florida yet, state officials said it appears to be spreading from states like New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado and Oklahoma.
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