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Scam Claims You Owe Fine For Missing Jury Duty

Dozens of people in the Houston area have fallen victim

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Photo credit: Free Images

The Harris County District Clerk’s Office is warning people about the resurgence of a jury service scam.

District Clerk Chris Daniel says con-artists posing as officers of the court are calling people and threatening to arrest them if they don’t pay hundreds of dollars in fine for failing to appear for jury duty.

“And what’s even more vicious about this is that they’re calling from phone numbers that appear, as their caller ID, various county phone numbers, including my office and the sheriff’s office,” Daniel says.

Daniel says the scammers make their victims stay on the phone while they walk them through the process of loading up a debit card. The victim turns over the debit card number, the scammers hang up and then spend the money.

“We, nor anyone else in Harris County, call you over the phone to pay for fines and fees. We will send you formal letters, usually certified. We do not call you over the phone and try to get any sort of payment, fines, fees, etc,” Daniel says.

If people miss a jury duty appointment, Daniel says they can reschedule right here.

Daniel says, so far, dozens of people in the Houston area have fallen for the jury service scam. It appears to be a repeat of a similar scam earlier this year in which the accused con-artists were caught. The FBI says the scam is happening in several states, including California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

People should report scammers’ calls to the District Clerk’s jury service operation at 713-755-6392, or the FBI. Tips to the FBI also may be submitted online and remain anonymous.

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David Pitman

Host, Morning Edition

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