Beware of These Scams

JURY DUTY SCAM

Beware of this fraud.  You will receive a phone call from someone who claims to be from a  court's jury commissioner's office. The caller will say that you failed to show up for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.  Caller-ID may even show a court name.

When you respond that you have never received a summons for jury duty, the caller will ask for your Social Security number and date of birth and sometimes a credit card, so that s/he can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant.

If you give out this information, congratulations!  Your identity has just been stolen.   Your bank accounts can now be cleaned out, new accounts can be opened, and purchases can be made in your name.

Courts send notice by postal mail and will only call about jury duty after you have sent back a jury questionnaire, and then only rarely.

Never give out bank account, social security, or credit card numbers to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the call and you know who the party is.

For further information:

FBI   
snopes.com
CallerSmart


ANOTHER COURT NOTICE SCAM

With this one, you get an email with the subject line "Notice to Appear in Court" and a number.  The sender is given as "County Court." The email reads:

Notice to Appear,
You have to appear in the Court on the July 24.
Please, prepare all the documents relating to the case and bring them to Court on the specified date.
Note: If you do not come, the case will be heard in your absence.

The Court Notice is attached to this email.

Regards,

John Doe,
Court secretary

Attached to the email is a zip file.  DON'T OPEN IT. It contains a virus.  Note that the email doesn't specify the time or place that you must appear or even the name of the case.  The name of the court secretary varies.

Courts don't have your email address and don't use it to summons people.


A BANKRUPTCY SCAM

If you've filed banruptcy, beware of this one.  You get a phone call claiming to be from the office of your bankruptcy attorney. They tell you that you have to wire money immediately to satisfy a debt.  They may even mention specific information, taken from your Bankruptcy Court file (which is a public record), which may make them sound legitimate.

A real bankruptcy attorney or staff would never call a client and ask for an immediate wire transfer.  Nor would they threaten arrest if a debt isn't paid.  

The scammer may use software to make the caller ID display look like it's coming from your bankruptcy attorney's office.  They may call late in the evening or during other non-business hours, so that you can't call your attorney's office back to verify.

 DO NOT GIVE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION TO THESE PEOPLE, AND HANG UP AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.  Call your attorney's office during business hours and tell them about the call.

New!FALSE IRS NOTICES

Another scam that is currently around is false notices from the IRS.  You get a phone call, usually a robocall, claiming to be from the IRS.  As in the previous scam, the caller ID display may even look like it's coming from the IRS.  The caller may say that the IRS has a warrant for your arrest or is about to sieze your home or car.  This is scary, and it's meant to be.  But don't panic.  The IRS never contacts a taxpayer by phone, unless they are replying to your call. IRS notices are always sent by US postal mail.  Never by phone or email.  These calls are a scam intended to get you to call a bogus number and give them personal information such as your social security number and address, so that they can steal your identity.  Don't bite.

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