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Police report new ID theft scam

November 22, 2010

LaGrange Police Chief Michael Holub reports a new twist used by scammers to commit identity theft: the jury duty scam. Here’s how it works:  

The scammer calls, claiming to work for the local court, and indicates that the potential victim has failed to report for jury duty, which resulted in the issuance of an arrest warrant.

 

The victim will often rightly claim that he never received the jury duty notification. The scammer then asks the victim for confidential information for "verification" purposes.  

Specifically, the scammer asks for the victim’s Social Security number, birth date, and sometimes even for credit card numbers and other private information—exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft.

 

So far, this jury duty scam has been reported in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state 

It’s easy to see why this works. The victim clearly is clearly caught off guard and is understandably upset about a warrant haven been issued for his arrest. So, the victim is much less likely to be vigilant about protecting his confidential information.

 

In reality, court workers would never call to ask for Social Security numbers or other private information. In fact, most courts follow up via snail mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.

 

Preventative Action: Never reveal a Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal, confidential information when contacted by telephone. This jury duty scam is the latest in a series of identity theft scams in which scammers use the phone to try to get people to reveal such details. 

 

It doesn’t matter "why" they are calling; all the reasons are just different variants of the same scam.  

 

For more information, see www.scambusters.org/juryduty.html  

 

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