Imagine getting a telephone call and the caller identifies himself as Lt. Owens with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
The caller further advises you that you failed to appear for mandated jury duty and the police will be coming to your house in the next two hours to arrest you unless you pay a $4,500 fine.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Department dispatch center has received 15-20 telephone calls from citizens in the past couple of hours reporting that they have received this type of telephone call.
This type of scam has continued for more than a decade and continues to be one of the most successful multipurpose intimidation imposter schemes.
Usually the deception is about failing to appear for a mandated jury duty and targets are told they are in contempt of court or have a federal warrant out for their arrest.
The caller may seem authentic, with your caller ID showing phone numbers for a courthouse or law enforcement agency and the caller may even use names of local police officers or judges.
The caller will tell you to avoid arrest, you can pay a fine in the form of a prepaid debit or gift card. The caller may ask to confirm your identity and ask for your personal information. HANG UP IMMEDIATELY without providing any information about yourself and certainly don’t run off to purchase a Green Dot Money Pak or iTunes gift card.
Authentic jury duty notifications, as well as no shows summonses are nearly always delivered by mail. In rare cases prospective jurors may be contacted by telephone by legitimate courthouse employees, but you will not be asked to provide personal information.
Legitimate police officials never give a heads-up phone call warning of an impending arrest about missing jury duty or any other infraction.
These types of scams normally occur after the courthouse has closed for the day, making it tough to verify the call.
If you have concerns, look up the courthouse phone number and verify the missed jury allegation with the jury duty coordinator or the court clerk’s office.
If you receive a telephone call after courthouse hours you can call the Washington County Sheriff’s Department at 812-883-5999 to report the telephone call and or to verify the validity of the telephone call.