Harris County Warns Of Jury Duty Scam

Scammers try to convince people to pay fines for missing jury duty.


It’s a fact of life that a lot of people skip out on jury duty. In 2011, about 30 percent of people summoned in Harris County never showed up.

And now scammers are taking advantage of that by calling local residents and telling them they owe fines for missing jury duty.

Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel says the scammers introduce themselves as law enforcement officers and try to charge as much as $2,000 for fake fines.

“They are also setting up 800-numbers that, when you call them back on these 800-numbers, they give you command prompts to follow that seem to be legitimate until they start asking for your personal bank account information and personal identification like social security cards etc.”

Daniel says there are real penalties for skipping jury duty, including fines and even jail time.

But he says anyone who has missed would never be notified by phone.

“We use certified letters and failure to appear notices. Everything is done legitimately, above board, and we never, ever, ever are going to call you saying you failed to appear, would you like to take care of your fine over the phone.”

Similar scams have taken place in other states and law enforcement officials don’t yet know if the same people are pulling off the scams.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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