FRANKFORT, Ky., Nov. 15, 2007 — The Kentucky Court of Justice is asking citizens to be on alert about a jury-duty scam intended to result in identity theft of its targets.
A scammer posing as a state or federal court official has been calling individuals to tell them that a warrant is out for their arrest because they failed to report for jury duty. When a citizen says that he or she did not receive a jury-duty notice, the scammer asks for a Social Security number and date of birth to verify the citizen’s claim so they may cancel the warrant. The scammer may also ask for a credit card number after offering to clear up the problem by charging a fine to the card.
“If you get a call from someone with this story or one like it, you should immediately end the call without providing any personal information,” said Cindra Walker, general counsel for the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort. “Kentucky court officials send jury summons information by U.S. mail and will not ask for your confidential information by phone. We encourage people to never provide their Social Security number, date of birth or other personal information to anyone over the phone. These scammers are using the an alleged connection to the court system to scare people into providing their private information, which they can then use to access bank accounts, apply for credit cards and cause other damage.”
This jury-duty scam isn’t new, but there has apparently been a resurgence of it as of late. Officials in several states have recently issued public warnings through the media about the scam after receiving reports that citizens in their area have gotten calls. At least a dozen states have reported instances of the scam in the past few years, according to the FBI.
Most, and often all, communication between state courts and prospective jurors is conducted through the U.S. mail. If there is phone contact, legitimate court officials will not ask for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information.
Citizens should contact their local law enforcement agency if they receive a phone call they believe could be related to this scam. For information about a jury duty summons, citizens should contact the Office of Circuit Court Clerk in the county in which they reside. Contact information can be found on the Kentucky Court of Justice Web site at www.courts.ky.gov under Counties on the left-hand menu.
The Administrative Office of the Courts supports the activities of more than 3,500 Kentucky Court of Justice employees, including the elected offices of justices, judges and circuit court clerks, and executes the Judicial Branch budget.