WARNING: Phone Call Scams and Email Scams Regarding Jury Service May Lead to Fraud
United States citizens are being fraudulently targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. The caller tells the victim that he/she has failed to report for jury duty and that a bench warrant has been issued for their arrest. The threat of a fine or imprisonment is used to manipulate individuals into providing confidential data, such as date of birth, social security number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and so forth, potentially leading to theft and fraud. These calls are not originating from actual court officials. Our Court does not call jurors (or anyone else) asking for private information. If a person fails to appear for jury duty, the Court will send a “failure to appear” letter to the person, asking them to tell us, in writing, why they did not appear. Our Jury Management personnel may call the morning of the assigned jury duty inquiring of their whereabouts, but will not call again after a juror has missed a jury day, and will not solicit sensitive personal or financial information. Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens; however, it is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official.
Any person who receives such a telephone call should do the following:
- Refuse to provide or confirm a Social Security Number or bank/credit card information to the caller;
- Refuse to send the caller any written personal information for review;
- Record the perpetrator’s phone number if Caller ID is available;
- Immediately report the contact to the Clerk of the District Court (304/347-3004) and the FBI (304/346-2300)
Juror phishing email scams are also on the rise. Recipients are asked to provide personal identifiers, such as a social security number, date of birth, and their mother’s maiden name, on an attached form, and email the form back to the originator. District courts never request that personal identification be returned in an email response. Our requests to complete a summons questionnaire or qualification questionnaire are initiated by formal written correspondence that provide instructions for the juror and are authenticated over a secure connection.
If you have any questions regarding jury duty or the jury process, please call our Jury Management Office at 304/347-3062.