Scammers court St. George residents for their money

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — St. George Police issued a warning Wednesday afternoon that scammers are once again trying to fleece St. George residents out of their money by claiming the call recipient missed a Jury Duty summons.

The scam

A resident receives a call from a person claiming to be a court official or a representative of the courts. The unknown caller claims the resident missed reporting for jury duty in the recent past.

The resident, meanwhile, is totally unaware of any jury summons. The caller states that a warrant has been issued for their arrest.

At this point the resident is frantic, thinking that law enforcement will be showing up at their house any minute. That’s when the caller throws the money aspect into the call.

The caller tells the resident that they can make this all go away if the resident goes and either purchases a gift card, a prepaid Visa or sends money via a service like Western Union to “cancel the warrant.”

At that point the scam is complete. The resident thinks an arrest has been dodged, and the scammer focuses on his next victim, pocketing the cash.

The facts

While reporting for jury duty is mandatory unless excused, officers or deputies will not come to arrest you based on non-attendance. You may receive another letter in the mail, but there will never be a call for “immediate payment.”

In fact, that is the key right there to most scams. The immediate payment via an untraceable source such as gift cards, prepaid Visa cards, or services such as Western Union is a tip-off. Don’t do it.

If the payment is untraceable, you probably have no chance of ever seeing the money again.

Different setup, same result

The other way that scammers use the above scam is to get your personal information. The setup is the same – a person calls claiming to be from the court and tells the victim that he missed reporting for jury duty. The victim says he didn’t receive a notice, and the caller says it can be straightened out by some information.

The caller is then asked for his birth date, Social Security number, and any other information including bank accounts and credit card numbers that the scammer thinks he can get away with. Then the victim is dismissed with a nice, “Thank you, apparently we made a mistake,” and the scammer has all the personal information needed to open new bank accounts and drain your current ones.

If you receive a call such as described above, or any call purporting to be from an official agency asking you for money, tell the caller you will call them back. Immediately hang up and call your local police. If the call is legitimate, the police will either know or will find out. If it’s not from a legitimate source, the police may ask you for information, such as Caller ID or the sex and approximate age of the caller.

If you have received a call as described above, call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.

Resources

Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • .... November 30, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    I always answer to the jury duty requests it’s part of my patriotic responsibilities. but it doesn’t change anything I still don’t have to work for a living !

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