The Phone Call you Got About Jury Duty May be From CrooksTruth!

Summary of eRumor:

The eRumor warns that you could get a phone call from someone claiming that you failed to show up for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.
The caller then wants to confirm your personal information such as Social Security number and other financial data.
The email says they are actually crooks who are trying to get enough information to commit identity theft.


The Truth:

There is evidence that this scam has actually taken place although at this point most of the publicity across the country is about the eRumor, not the scam itself. has found that authorities in several states have issued news releases about the scam including in Arizona, Iowa, Washington, Arkansas, Illinois, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Utah as well as Canada.
The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama issued an alert quoting the eRumor word for word.
The interesting part is that many of the releases by state attorney’s-general offices or police say “it hasn’t happened in our state yet” and most of the releases appear to be repeating the information from the eRumor.

Regardless, it’s a good warning to remind us that there is a large variety of methods used right now by identity thieves to try to trick us into revealing our financial information such as Social Security numbers, ATM pin numbers, passwords, etc.

If you get any inquiries for your personal financial information, don’t give it.
Instead, make direct contact with the organization claiming to want it and verify that the request was really from them.

Updated 9/7/05

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Here’s a new twist scammers are using to commit identity theft: the jury duty scam. Here’s how it works:

The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court and claims you’ve failed to report for jury duty. He tells you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.

The victim will often rightly claim they never received the jury duty notification. The scammer then asks the victim for confidential information for “verification” purposes.

Specifically, the scammer asks for the victim’s Social Security number, birth date, and sometimes even for credit card numbers and other private information — exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft.

So far, this jury duty scam has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state.

It’s easy to see why this works. The victim is clearly caught off guard, and is understandably upset at the prospect of a warrant being issued for his or her arrest. So, the victim is much less likely to be vigilant about protecting their confidential information.

In reality, court workers will never call you to ask for social security numbers and other private information. In fact, most courts follow up via snail mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.

Action: Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information when you receive a telephone call. This jury duty scam is the latest in a series of identity theft scams where scammers use the phone to try to get people to reveal their Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information.

It doesn’t matter *why* they are calling — all the reasons are just different variants of the same scam.

Protecting yourself is simple: Never give this info out when you receive a phone call.

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