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District courts warn of new juror scam

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Once again, the federal courts are warning of a juror scam designed to trick unsuspecting people into giving their personal information.

At least 14 federal District courts have received reports of local residents receiving an email notifying them of their selection for jury duty and demanding they return a form with such information as Social Security and driver’s license numbers, date of birth, cell phone number and mother’s maiden name.

Moreover, the email warned that anyone who failed to provide the information would have to explain the failure to the court and could be penalized with fines and jail time. The email falsely claimed that it was affiliated with eJuror, an online registration program used in about 80 U.S. court districts.

The email is fraudulent. Anyone receiving an email like this should contact their local federal court.

Such scams are not new. The federal courts have been used in these types of cons since 2004, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has released three warnings since 2005.

“The criminals are trying to cloak themselves in the authority of the court to try to squeeze valuable information out of people,” said a spokesman for the U.S. Courts. “People have to be on alert.”

Within the last month, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has received reports from two people who received phone calls telling them they had missed federal jury selection and asking them for their financial information, according to Laura Briggs, court clerk.  

Also, six months ago, the Southern District got a report that someone had received an arrest warrant on what looked like letterhead from the federal courts. The document asked for personal information and provided a phone number the recipient could call to settle the debt.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana has not gotten any reports of suspicious emails or arrest warrants from local residents, said Kurt Koch, manager for the Hammond and Lafayette divisions.  

The federal courts reiterated that eJuror never requests personal identification information be sent directly in an email response. Requests by courts to complete a qualification questionnaire would be initiated by formal written correspondence. These letters would then tell jury participants how to access an authenticated, secure online connection.


 

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