Federal courts are warning residents of scam phone calls threatening prosecution for failure to comply with jury service, according to an alert released Thursday by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
“The individual calling may identify him or herself as a ‘Federal Agent,’ and the caller may or may not indicate the call is from the ‘Federal Warrant Service’ or some other fictitious federal law enforcement agency,” the statement says. “The caller will state that a bench or arrest warrant has been issued for failure to appear in court and then give the person the option of paying a fine to avoid arrest. Typically, the caller will ask the person to obtain a “green dot” or “blue dot” voucher or debit card.”
The fraudulent calls have no connection to the U.S. District Court or the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the statement. The court and law enforcement agencies will never request payment of a fine over the telephone for failure to appear for jury duty or seek personal information over the phone. Jurors who miss jury duty typically will be contacted by the clerk’s office and may, in certain circumstances, be ordered to appear in court before a judge. Any fine for failure to appear for jury duty will be imposed by a judge during an open session of court, and the summoned juror will be given the opportunity to explain the failure to appear.
Anyone who is contacted or has been contacted by someone requesting such payments is urged to immediately contact the U.S. District Court clerk’s office in Indianapolis at 317-229-3700, indicating that you may have been a target of juror fraud.