A nationwide jury duty scam has claimed an increasing number of victims, authorities said.
Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan and U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg issued a public warning on Monday in an effort to prevent more people from "falling prey to such scams."
Their statement says scammers are posing as U.S. marshals or other government officials, claiming the individual will be arrested for not appearing for jury duty unless they pay a fine.
“If someone calls and threatens you to pay them to not be arrested for missing federal jury duty, you are being scammed," Handberg said.
The scammers can be convincing, Handberg warns. Some of them reportedly provide a potential victim's address, date of birth, names of federal judges and case numbers.
Corrigan reminds people that if they are selected for jury duty, they will receive a summons by mail. He adds that the court will never ask for banking information over the phone.
"The court appreciates those citizens who are called for jury service and always endeavors to treat them with respect," Corrigan stated.
If a person fails to show up for jury duty after receiving a legitimate summons, Corrigan notes that the person could be asked to appear before a judge, but the order would be in writing and signed by the judge.
"A fine will never be imposed until after an individual has appeared in court and been given the opportunity to explain their failure to appear," the joint statement from Corrigan and Handberg says.
People who believe they are a victim of the jury duty scam are asked to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission and their local FBI field office.
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