News Details

Jury Duty Scam Creeps into area

Woodbury: The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection issued a warning to residents of a new phone scam in an attempt for identity thieves to obtain your personal information. This scam involves calls for Jury Duty.

Freeholder Director Stephen Sweeney said, "This scam is similar to others that we have seen, but the fact that the identity thieves are posing as representatives from a government agency is really troubling."

This is how the scam has been working: you receive a phone call from an individual claiming to work for the local court system. You are told by the false caller that you have failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest. After you deny that you were never summoned for jury duty, the identity thieves then say they can straighten out right away for you by giving them your full name and correct spelling, social security number, birth dates and possibly ask for credit cards so they can verify they have the right person.

Do not give out your information. "Court workers do not call potential jurors and ask for social security numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information. Contact between the courts and prospective jurors is always through the mail," stated Freeholder Director Sweeney.

The Freeholder said that this scam has been launched in such states as Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and now Pennsylvania. This scam is three weeks old according to Security Products E-News.

Freeholder William Krebs, Liaison to the Office of Consumer Protection warns "People need to hear about this scam as soon as possible so they don't fall victim to it. If anyone has received such a call we are asking that they call our Consumer Protection Office," Krebs said. The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection phone number is 384-6855.

Freeholder Krebs said that the following should be kept in mind when answering calls regarding jury duty:

First, court workers do not call potential jurors and ask for social security numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information. Contact between the courts and prospective jurors is always through the mail.

The U.S. Courts suggest avoiding phone calls that start by someone saying; "In order to avoid prosecution, you must act now". "Please provide your social security number so we can verify your information". The caller refuses to send written information for you to review.

Be skeptical of callers who threaten to arrest you for missing jury duty unless you provide them with specific information. If you feel uncomfortable, hang up. Do not be frightened about being rude, even if the caller plays on your fear of prosecution. And please report these scams to the local Prosecutor's Office, Consumer Affairs or the state Attorney General.

The phone number for Gloucester County Consumer Affairs is 856-384-6855.