|Video: Jury Phone Scam
WARNING: Bogus Phone Calls on Jury Service May Lead to Fraud (Updated January 16, 2015)
In various parts of the United States, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts.
In the calls, the threat of a fine for shirking jury service is used to coerce tose called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls are not from real court officials.
Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be thorugh the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.
Jury is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. However, it is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official. The federal judiciary takes seriously such an offense.
Persons receiving such a telephone call should not provide the requested information, and should notify the Clerk of Court's office of the U.S. District Court in their area.
Public Alert: New Juror Scam Seeks Personal Data (Updated January 16, 2015)
A juror scam email, which fraudulently seeks personal information that could aid identity theft, has been reported in at least 14 federal court districts.
According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, citizens received emails claiming they had been selected for jury service and demanding that they return a form with such information as Social Security and driver's license numbers, date of birth, cell phone number, and mother's maiden name.
According to the email, anyone who failed to provide the information would be ordered to court to explain their failure, and could face fines and jail time. The email also falsely claimed that it was affiliated with eJuror, an online registration program used in about 80 U.S. court districts.
The email is fraudulent and has no connection to either the federal courts or to eJuror.
The Administrative Office noted that eJuror never requests that personal identification information be sent directly in an email response. Requests by courts to complete a qualification questionnaire would be initiated by formal written correspondence. Such letters tell jury participants how to access an authenticated, secure online connection. It is a federal crime to falsely represent oneself as a federal court employee.
U.S. District Court officials were urged to post warnings about the scam on their public websites, and anyone suspecting a fraudulent email or call should contact the clerk's office at their nearest district court. Anyone who responded to the email should take appropriate steps to safeguard their personal and financial information, which may include contacting the major credit bureaus.
Welcome to jury service in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. We believe that you will find your time spent as a juror both an interesting and rewarding experience.
Jurors perform a vital role in the American system of justice and your service is one of the highest duties of citizenship. The protection of our rights and liberties is largely achieved through the teamwork of judge and jury who, working together in a common effort, put into practice the principles of our great heritage of freedom. The judge determines the law to be applied in the case while the jury decides the facts. Thus, in a very important way, jurors become a part of the Court itself.
Our Court is grateful for your willingness to accept this responsibility. We wish to extend our appreciation for your jury service and hope that you leave with a greater understanding of our jury system in this country.
A WORD OF THANKS
By serving jury duty you are participating in the administration of justice. There is no more valuable service that a citizen can perform in support of our democratic government than the good faith performance of jury duty.
Geri M. Smith
Clerk of Court