Jury Duty Scam Spreading

10-27-05 - The newest form of identity theft is targeting one of America's least favorite obligations, jury duty. Scammers pretend to be court officials taking victims' private information over the phone.

Scammers call their victims at home claiming to be a jury coordinator. They say that you didn't show up for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for your arrest.

When you say you didn't get a summons they ask for your Social Security number and date of birth to verify their information, and that's where they get you.

Martha Rhynes, jury coordinator, says, "We never call and ask anyone for their Social Security number, date of birth, or other personal information."

Martha Rhynes is a real jury coordinator in Grayson County. She says the courts only communicate with potential jurors by mail, not by phone. That includes no-shows.

"If anyone receives a call from someone identifying himself as a juror representative or coordinator asking for personal information, simply do not give it to them and do not divulge that information, and then call us."

In rare cases jury coordinators do make phone calls, but only at a judge’s request, and the coordinator will never ask for personal information.

If you think your identity has been stolen, check with the fraud departments of any of the three consumer reporting companies.

File a report with police and contact the Federal Trade Commission. They keep track of theft cases.