‘Jury duty’ scammers swindle Cedar City residents

Composite includes base image by wutwhanfoto, jury summons image by mokee81, both iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Scammers posing as Iron County Sheriff’s personnel have swindled several Cedar City residents in recent days.

The scammers have been calling telling people they are subject to a fine for missing jury duty, according to a Facebook post by the Cedar City Police Department.

The scammers instruct the victim to call another number that connects the caller to someone who directs them to purchase a prepaid Visa gift card and call back with the card account number.

With the card number in hand, the fraudsters are then able to remove the money from the card’s account immediately.

“The last few days the CCPD has numerous fraud/scam calls from victims who have fallen for the scam,” the post reads.

Cedar City Police said Iron County Sheriff’s Office does not conduct business in this manner.

“They take care of those issues in person,” the Police Department said, “and they certainly will never direct you to run to a grocery store and buy pre-paid Visa or gift cards to pay fines.”

The scam is not new and has affected residents throughout Southern Utah, including an incident in which one Washington County resident was recently defrauded out of $3,500 in a similar scam.

Read more: Phone scammer posing as member of Sheriff’s Office bilks resident out of $3,500

In that case, the scam was sophisticated enough to clone the Sheriff’s Office phone number and use the names of certified personnel, giving the appearance of legitimacy to the victim.

A vigilant Hurricane resident recognized a similar scam earlier this year and reported it to police.

“Anytime that people feel that they’ve been defrauded or get something suspicious, of course we want people to contact us and make a report so that we can help in any way we can,” Hurricane Police spokeswoman Tiffany Mower said of that incident.

In addition to scammers posing as law enforcement authorities, another popular scam involves con artists posing as IRS agents threatening taxpayers with police arrest, deportation and license revocation.

Read more: IRS Dirty Dozen: Recap of the top 12 tax scams for 2017

Suspicious calls should be reported to authorities.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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