TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Jury duty scammers are taking advantage of those who take the civic responsibility seriously.
Tuesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody released a warning about a recent surge in jury duty scams across the state.READ MORE: COVID uptick being felt across South Florida as CDC recommends taking added precautions
According to reports, at least five counties have warned of jury duty scams in the past year—including two warnings already in 2022. Those counties are Citrus, Collier, Lake, Polk and St. Johns.
The scam involves an imposter contacting a resident and claiming the resident missed jury duty and must pay a fine. The imposter then claims if the fine isn’t paid immediately, the citizen may be arrested or forced to pay late fees.READ MORE: Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign off on housing money
“There are few civic duties as important to our judicial system as serving on a jury. As a former judge, I am livid that anyone would exploit this process to scare citizens into paying a ransom or attempt to steal personal and financial information. Please know that failure to appear for jury duty is not grounds for immediate arrest,” said Moody.
“I am especially troubled when people with bad intentions base their scams on what appears to be court business. Our courts depend on jury service and we rely on Floridians who are essential to this process. Protect yourselves from scammers and protect our system of justice by taking part in jury service,” said Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady.
To guard against jury duty scams, follow these tips:
- Know that jury duty summons will come by mail, not by phone or email;
- If no jury duty summons is received, then ignore a phone call from anyone claiming to be calling about jury duty;
- Contact a local court clerk’s office using the Florida Courts map to see if there is a valid jury duty issue;
- Never give personal or financial information over the phone to a stranger, especially if the caller acts aggressively;
- Recognize that anyone asking for payments to be made through a gift card is a scammer; and
- Be wary of Caller ID, as this can be spoofed, making a phone call look like it is coming from a real source.
Report suspected jury duty scams to the local County Clerk’s office using the Florida Clerks website and to local law enforcement. Anyone who encounters a jury duty scam, or any other type of fraud, can also file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office online at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM.