FBI warns of 'jury duty' phone scams alleging victims must pay fine

- Federal authorities are warning residents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey of a phone scam in which callers impersonate law enforcement and tell victims an arrest warrant has been issued for them for failure to appear for jury duty.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service say the scammers are impersonating law enforcement officers or court officials, then accuse the call recipient of failing to appear for federal of local jury duty.

The caller then tells the victim that a warrant has been issued for their arrest, and order that they pay a fine, then report to the court.

In order to pay the fake fine, victims are instructed by the scampers to buy a prepaid debit card and provide them the card information.

Officials say recent reports indicate scammers have been targeting New Jersey residents.

U.S. Marshals have offered the following advice to avoid falling victim to the scam:  

  • Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls
  • Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact
  • Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller pressures you, or says things that don’t sound right, hang up
  • If concerns remain about the caller’s claims, verify the information with the appropriate law enforcement agency or court officials

Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.

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