Jury duty is a civic duty, but police are putting out a warning about a sophisticated scam designed to get some quick cash and some personal information.
Victims have been getting a phone call and on the other end of the line is someone telling you, you were a no-show for jury duty and that now you need to pay a fine.
Police say while the scammers are pretty convincing, there are some red flags to let you know it’s a scam.
Fairfield Police Lt. Robert Kalamaras says they've received a number of calls from potential victims just in the last week.
"They claim to be someone of authority, someone from the courthouse and what they do is they convince the person who takes the call, that they missed jury duty or they have a warrant out for their arrest and they have to pay a fine,” Kalamaras said.
According to police, it looks legitimate.
"What they do is they use an application that changes the number that they're calling from, into the number they want to show up on the caller ID. So even though it looks official, it’s not necessarily the courthouse calling,” Kalamaras said.
The scammers then tell you that by paying a fine with either a credit card, a pre-paid card or wire transfers to avoid being arrested.
"The court will never ask for money, the court will never call you at your home, most correspondence that comes from the court will come through a letter in the mail,” Kalamaras said.
In addition to the money, the scammers are also looking for personal information to use for identity thefts, like your name, address, birth date and social security number.
“It is imperative that you do not give out any information over the phone. The court will not be calling you for jury duty,” Kalamaras said.
Police also want people to not only be aware of the scam but also some giveaways.
"Many of the calls come in the evening when court is out of session, so you can be assured that its usually not someone who works for the court, that normally works between 9 and 5,” Kalamaras said. “The court will never ask for money, they court will never call you at your home, most correspondence that comes from the court, will come through a letter in the mail."
Anyone who gets a call like this should hang up, don’t give up any information and then call police.
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