In a new identity theft scam, criminals are posing as members of local courts in order to obtain confidential information by accusing people of failing to appear for jury duty. So far, incidents have been reported in Arizona, Washington State, and Texas.
When the Harris County District Court Clerk’s Office in Houston found out about the scam in Arizona they informed the public via their Web site and received a number of calls reporting similar incidences in Texas.
In carrying out the scam, the caller questions a consumer about their failure to appear for jury duty after receiving a summons in the mail. Caught off guard, the victim often claims they never received the notification. The scammer then asked for confidential information for “verification.”
Court clerks, however, will never call you and ask for your Social Security number, credit card numbers, or other sensitive information. Moreover, such information should not be given out over the phone, even if the caller claims to be part of the judicial system.
Most courts follow up on jury notices by mail and never call prospective jurors. If you are in doubt, you should ask for a name and telephone number to call the person back on. A return call will either confirm the clerk’s story or reveal a scam has been attempted.