Dear Raley Wiggins,
The Attorney General's Office sent out the attached news release, warning of a Jury Duty Scam, to statewide media outlets on December 4.
Please feel free to refer your questions and comments to:
Alabama Administrative Office of Courts
AG STRANGE WARNS OF JURY DUTY SCAM
(MONTGOMERY) -Attorney General Luther Strange warns of a scam spreading throughout Alabama. Someone pretending to be law enforcement, or with the court, calls the victim -- often an elderly person -- and threatens him with arrest for missing jury duty, but then offers to handle the matter for money, over the telephone. Circuit clerks around the state have reported increasing incidents in the last several weeks, with the scam artists growing more and more sophisticated in their efforts to trick people.
The scammer usually informs the victim there is a warrant for his arrest for failing to report for jury duty. He, or she, then advises that bond has been ordered, sometimes dropping a local judge's name for effect, and reassures the victim the whole matter can be settled without him being arrested if he will just agree to purchase a pre-paid credit card and pay the bond over the phone. Victims have sometimes been instructed to go to a specific dollar store to obtain such a card.
These calls are placed from pre-paid cell phones with local telephone numbers. These scams have been reported recently in an increasing number of Alabama counties, including Autauga, Butler, Coffee, Colbert, Covington, Etowah, Houston, Morgan and Tuscaloosa counties.
Attorney General Strange cautions, "Please know, you will not be threatened with arrest, nor be asked to pay any fine, or post any bond in this manner. If, for any reason, the courts have an issue with you, you would usually be notified in writing and be ordered to contact the clerk's office, either in person or by telephone. Impersonating a law enforcement officer and misrepresenting the judicial process to frighten and trick people out of money is a serious crime, and we hope anyone who receives such a call will report it to their local law enforcement and court officials."