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If It Sounds Suspicious, Harris County Officials Say That Phone Call Is Probably Fake

It’s an old scam that’s been going on for years. Harris County is warning people not to become a victim.

So you get a phone call and your caller ID says it’s coming from the courthouse. An authoritative voice says you’ve missed jury duty and there’s a warrant out for your arrest.

The caller then goes on say that you can handle the matter over the phone. Just wire money or give them the number from a prepaid debit card.

Turns out those calls are actually a scam. Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel says scammers usually target elderly people or immigrants. But in one case even a lawyer was conned.

“And it wasn’t until after the fact that he made a second phone call to double-check but by then it was too late,” says Daniel. “He was out a thousand bucks.”

Daniel says people need to remember that law enforcement doesn’t ask for money over the phone. And if someone isn’t responding to repeated jury summons that’s not the way they’re going to handle it.

“You’ll get a certified letter in the mail saying you’d had failed to appear, please show up to court so-and-so for a show cause hearing with the judge,” explains Daniel.

So if you get a call that sounds suspicious, Daniel says the best thing to do is hang up and notify authorities.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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