If you’re like most people, a call from the police saying there’s a warrant out for your arrest would make you panic. And that’s exactly what the crooks who run jury duty scams are counting on.
According to the FBI, it works like this: A con man calls your home pretending to be a local police detective. They say a warrant was issued for your arrest because you failed to appear for jury duty. But they’re being nice and offering to let you pay a hefty fine on the spot, instead of taking you to jail. But once you give them your credit card number, the crooks go on a spending spree.
Even worse, the con man may offer to “help clear up the misunderstanding.” All he needs is a little information like your Social Security number, home address and credit card number. And once he has that, it’s child’s play to steal your money and your identity.
The FBI says the jury duty scam works beautifully because it’s simple, and it preys on our desire to stay on the right side of the law. That’s why security experts say it’s important to keep your cool when anybody calls you. For one thing, remember that police never call people about warrants. They serve them in person and haul you off to jail. But if it’s something minor, like failure to appear for jury duty, they contact you by mail.
Plus police aren’t responsible for collecting fines. So any request for money by someone claiming to be with the police is a scam. And, just for the record, if you really do forget to show up for jury duty, no one’s going to throw you in the slammer. But you may have to go downtown and do some explaining in front of a judge.