On Monday, the United States District Court and the United States Attorney's Office issued a public service announcement warning people not to fall for a continuing fraud involving the fear of arrest for failing to appear for jury duty.
The U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida said Monday that fraudsters posing as U.S. Marshals or government officials call victims and threaten to imprison them for not reporting for jury duty unless they pay a fee After acceptance, the scammers "walk them through purchasing a prepaid debit or gift card or making an electronic payment to satisfy the fine."
Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan and U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg said Nassau, Orange, and Pinellas counties had heard from several fraud victims. Corrigan and Handberg seek to stop "from falling prey to such scams."
I'll be clear: these calls are bogus," Corrigan stated. Do not disclose your credit card or other financial information to a judge or court official who calls.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, anybody who believes they have been deceived can report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The following information may be provided: the victim's personal details (such as their residence and date of birth), the identities of federal judges and court personnel, the physical locations and phone numbers of the courts, and the case and badge numbers.
"In no instance will a court official, U.S. Marshals Service, or other government employee contact someone and demand payment or personal information by phone or email," according to the announcement.
The National Center for State Courts found that less than 5% of Americans serve on juries, compared to 15% who are called annually, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center says the survey reflects 70% of Americans.