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A couple of months ago I posted a blog while flying at about 30,000 feet. That was a first for me and today I have a new first. I’m writing and posting a blog from the jury waiting room as I wait to see if I’ll be a juror. Of course, this reminded me of a blog I posted some time ago, but is worth mentioning the subject again.
The jury duty scam has been around for several years. The way it typically works is that intended victim receives a phone call from someone who claims to work for the court and advises them that there is a warrant out for their arrest for failing to appear for jury duty. Of course they never received a summons for jury duty and when they say this to the caller they are told to provide some information, such as their social security number, date of birth, even sometimes a credit card number.
The whole thing is a scam designed to try to get enough information to commit crimes of identity theft and/or financial fraud. In reality the courts are not going to call you about this, they would send you a letter. Still, if you have any doubts you should call the appropriate court and verify with them. The appropriate court will need your name and address, but not your credit card number, or other personal information.
This is an example of a specific scam, but the principals to avoid becoming a victim of many other scams are the same. The bank calls, a credit card company calls, and so on. Call them back. Yes, call the bank or credit card company back. Before you hang up, get the caller’s name. You can look up the phone number on the back of your credit card or in the phone book. If the caller provides you with a number to call you might want to google the phone number or use a look up service to see if the phone number is actually associated with the business in question.
Snopes has a lot of information about the Jury Duty Scam at http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp if you care to read a bit more about it.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, ESET