Don't Fall for Jury Duty Scam
The phone rings, you pick it up, and the caller identifies himself as an officer of the court. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice. To clear it up, the caller says he'll need some information for "verification purposes"-your birth date, social security number, maybe even a credit card number.
This is when you should hang up the phone. It's a scam.
Jury scams have been around for years, but have seen a resurgence in recent months. Communities in more than a dozen states have issued public warnings about cold calls from people claiming to be court officials seeking personal information. As a rule, court officers never ask for confidential information over the phone; they generally correspond with prospective jurors via mail.
The scam's bold simplicity may be what makes it so effective. Facing the unexpected threat of arrest, victims are caught off guard and may be quick to part with some information to defuse the situation.
"They get you scared first," says a special agent in the Minneapolis field office who has heard the complaints. "They get people saying, 'Oh my gosh! I'm not a criminal. What's going on?'" That's when the scammer dangles a solution-a fine, payable by credit card, that will clear up the problem.
With enough information, scammers can assume your identity and empty your bank accounts.
"It seems like a very simple scam," the agent adds. The trick is putting people on the defensive, then reeling them back in with the promise of a clean slate. "It's kind of ingenious. It's social engineering."In recent months, communities in Florida, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, California, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Hampshire reported scams or posted warnings or press releases on their local websites. In August, the federal court system issued a warning on the scam and urged people to call their local District Court office if they receive suspicious calls. In September, the FBI issued a press release about jury scams and suggested victims also contact their local FBI field office.
In March, USA.gov, the federal government’s information website, posted details about jury scams in their Frequently Asked Questions area. The site reported scores of queries on the subject from website visitors and callers seeking information.
The jury scam is a simple variation of the identity-theft ploys that have proliferated in recent years as personal information and good credit have become thieves' preferred prey, particularly on the Internet. Scammers might tap your information to make a purchase on your credit card, but could just as easily sell your information to the highest bidder on the Internet's black market.
Protecting yourself is the key: Never give out personal information when you receive an unsolicited phone call.
- Common Fraud Schemes
- Jury Fraud Press Release (09/28/05)
ASHLEY RENEE BLACK KRAJCA
In a past newsletter, I included often used quotes by my late father and my late step-daughter, Ashley Renee Black Krajca. I did not realize at the time when I included Ashley's quotes on our newsletter that it would trigger so many inquiries to our website regarding Ashley.
Tragically, Ashley Renee Black Krajca died on July 30, 2009. Ashley, her husband Justin and friends were crossing a street in Miami when Ashley was struck and killed by a pickup truck.
Ashley and her husband Dr. Justin Krajca were living in Miami where Justin is currently fulfilling his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Ashley had enrolled at the University of Miami to pursue a second degree in Marine Biology and was selected into the South Florida Student Shark Program and had made numerous trips into the Florida Keys catching, tagging and researching sharks, her passion in life.
The weekend before her death she fulfilled a life's dream of hers by participating in the filming of The Animal Planet's new show "Wild Recon". The episode with Ashley and her friends from the South Florida Student Shark Program originally aired on March 9, 2010.
Chances are if you are inquiring, you saw the show and that would thrill Ashley. Her goal in life was for people to become informed about the plight of sharks and the fact that they are being killed by the millions just for shark fin soup which chefs have to add chicken stock to the recipe to give it flavor.
Another little known fact is how the fins are harvested. After the fins are cut off the live sharks, the sharks are thrown back live into the sea to drown. Also high levels of mercury are being found in sharks as you saw on "Wild Recon". Ashley would ask that you help spread the word about the useless slaughter of millions of sharks each year.
In Ashley's memory, thank you for your inquiries.