Jury Duty Scams and How to Avoid Them
July 5, 2017
A persistent problem
For years, the jury duty scam has been one of the most successful types of fraud affecting Americans. In this scheme, criminals posing as officials from state or federal courts contact citizens through phone calls or email and threaten them with fines or legal action for not reporting to jury duty. These con artists then demand personal data like social security numbers and credit card numbers to prevent any repercussions. If someone targets you like this, think twice before handing over your information.
Jury duty con artists have become more aggressive, implementing complex scams that involve establishing call centers and using specific names and court hearing times.¹
Know how and when jury duty officials will contact you and the steps to take if you’ve been targeted.
How federal district courts generally operate
Know how court officials handle communications and fines to avoid falling victim to jury duty scammers.
- Federal courts will not require you to provide sensitive information like your Social Security number or credit card numbers through a phone call or email.3
- eJuror, an online registration program used in about 80 U.S. court districts, will also never request that personal identification information be sent directly in an email.4
- A court will always send a jury summons by U.S. mail.5
- In most cases, a juror who disregards their summons will be contacted by the court clerk’s office and may, in some circumstances, be ordered to appear before a judge.6
- A fine may be imposed, but this would only occur at the court appearance. At that time, an individual would have the opportunity to explain a failure to appear.7
If you’ve been contacted by a scammer
It is a crime to impersonate a federal court official. Consider the following if you’re contacted by someone through phone or email about jury duty fines:
- If you receive any suspicious email about jury duty fines or warrants, delete them and don’t respond.
- If you’re contacted by phone and pressured to give away sensitive information, stop and hang up.
- To report suspicious email or phone calls, call your local district court office.
- To verify if there are any potential charges against you, contact your local court clerk’s office or the U.S. Marshals Service.
- If you have fallen victim to jury duty scammers, contact your local police or sheriff department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the U.S. Marshals Service.