The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office has recently released a statement warning Michigan citizens of a phone scam that threatens to arrest residents if a fine isn’t paid for missing their jury duty appointment.
The Sheriff’s Department has advised anyone who feels they have been contacted by a scam artist to call local law enforcement immediately and refuse to make any payments.
Unsuspecting victims will receive a phone call from a scammer claiming to be a representative of local law enforcement. The caller with then inform the victim that they’ve missed their jury duty appointment and a warrant has been issued for their arrest.
However, an arrest can be avoided if a fine is paid for not showing up in court. The scammer will advise the victim to pay the fine using a wire transfer, gift card, or credit card. If the victim denies that they’ve missed their jury duty, the scammer will resort to plan B and ask for their social security number to verify that the information they provided is correct.
If the victim hands over their credit card or social security information, they could lose more than just a couple hundred dollars. The scammer will be able to exploit their ignorance and quite possibly steal their identity, too.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard informs citizens that “No law enforcement agency will make intimidating phone calls and demand money from citizens. These phone calls, unfortunately, target innocent individuals and these scam artists use legitimate names and agencies to try and cheat people out of money.”
Any type of correspondence from a local court regarding jury duty will always come in the form of a letter and on occasion through email. The victim will never receive a phone call from a courthouse demanding payment for a fine because of a missed jury duty appointment. That’s simply not how the system operates.
If you or someone you know feels that a call sounds legitimate—scammers have gotten really good at spoofing company phone numbers—hang up and immediately call the local clerk of courts to verify the information. Under no circumstances should anyone make a payment over the phone.