The Harrison County District Clerk’s Office issued a warning this week about a scam where the appellant poses as the clerk’s office and asks the receiver to register as a juror.
“We received phone calls today about someone calling using the District Clerk’s Office phone number telling you that you need to register as a juror,” District Clerk Sherry Griffis warned in a Facebook post on the Harrison County Clerk’s social media page on Thursday. .
“This is not the call from the Harrison County District Clerk’s Office,” Griffis said. “This is a scammer who uses our number to obtain personal information to use for illegal use.”
Griffis noted that the district clerk’s office will never solicit information for jury duty.
“All of our jury information comes in the mail,” she said.
Griffis advised the public to be vigilant and cautious about this scam. For questions, call the District Clerk’s Office at (903) 935-8409.
Federal Court warns against phishing scams
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which has federal court here in Marshall, also posted a jury scam warning on its website.
Scams that target citizens with false statements of jury service prey on people’s fear, threatening arrest for a missed summons for jury service, federal court officials say.
“The recent scams in federal courts are typical of fraudsters. Callers posing as court officials, U.S. Marshals or other law enforcement agents phoned random victims trying to convince them to pay a fine to avoid arrest for not having appeared as a juror,” the court warned. “The callers insisted that their victims bring cash or prepaid credit cards to the courthouse where they made an appointment.”
Federal court officials said a court will always send a jury summons by US mail and will never demand payment or sensitive information over the phone.
“In most cases, a prospective juror who disregards a summons will be contacted by the court registry and may, in certain circumstances, be ordered to appear before a judge. A fine may be imposed but not prior to the court appearance, during which an individual has the opportunity to explain a failure to appear,” explains the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on its website.
David Harlow, acting director of the US Marshal’s Service, said he wanted to educate the public about phone and impersonation scams so they can avoid falling victim to them.
“Rest assured that the US Marshals Service will never call anyone to arrange for the payment of fines over the phone for failure to appear as a juror, for outstanding warrants or for any other violation,” Harlow said.
Fraudulent callers sometimes disguise their phone numbers so that they appear as court or law enforcement numbers on recipients’ caller ID, according to Federal Court officials.
“They also sometimes transfer victims during calls to create the illusion that they are speaking with government offices,” Federal Court officials noted.
Officials warn that impersonating a federal official is a federal crime punishable by jail time or a fine, or a combination of both.
“Anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam should not provide the requested information and should immediately notify the U.S. District Court Registry in their area, as well as local law enforcement,” federal officials said.