Jury phone scam takes on debit card twist

Posted Friday, Jul. 04, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

To learn more

• Call Tarrant County Jury Services at 817-884-3820.

• Anyone contacted by a suspected scam artist should call the police. Residents of unincorporated Tarrant County can call the Sheriff’s Department by dialing 911.

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Tarrant County residents are being warned not to fall for a phone scam in which the caller accuses them of missing jury duty and offers the option of paying a fine with a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot money card.

The use of the prepaid cards is a new tactic, said Terry Grisham, a spokesman for the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department.

The callers use the names of real county officials to give the scam an air of authenticity. Officials believe the scammers are getting the names off the county website.

If a warrant really is issued for failure to appear for jury duty, a uniformed officer will serve it in person, county Jury Bailiff Paula Morales said.

“If an officer contacts you by phone, it would be to instruct you to immediately report to the jury room or to a court in order to avoid potential sanctions,” she said in a statement on the county website. “No money is ever requested or collected over the phone for failure to report for jury duty.”

A judge would hand down any fines after whoever missed jury duty appeared in person, she said.

Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796 Twitter: @gdickson

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