FBI Warns of Jury Duty Scam

By: Whitney Daniel
By: Whitney Daniel

Knoxville (WVLT) – There is a FBI warning about a new scam that basically scares you into giving out your personal information.

The threat: jail time.

Volunteer TV's Whitney Daniel shows you how the scammer steals your ID.

The phone call catches you by surprise.

And when threatened with jail time, you're not thinking about what you're saying, before you know it, you've given a scammer all the information they need to steal your life away.

The Federal Court System and the FBI say someone will call you, say they're from the courts, and ask why you were a "no show". They'll continue to tell you there's a warrant out for your arrest.

And if you tell them you didn't receive a summons, they'll ask for personal information for "verification purposes" to cancel the arrest warrant. And that's when they steal your identity.

"We would never contact a juror by telephone," Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner says that's your first clue.

"If you're summoned for jury duty, you will get a written summons in the mail instructing you where to appear and when to appear and information about jury orientation," says Judge Baumgartner.

And if you ignore it?

"If you fail to appear, we would not call you," Judge Baumgartner says. What we would do is send a follow-up letter advising you that you missed your summons date."

That letter will instruct you to call them. But Judge Baumgartner says if you find yourself caught up in a possible scam, reverse the roles... start asking questions of your own... then give that information to authorities.

"We can track them down and 'nip this in the bud', as they say," Baumgartner says.

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