HACKENSACK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — Fraudsters are apparently targeting Bergen County residents with a jury duty phone scam.
The scammers pose as sheriff’s office employees and accuse them of missing jury duty, and tell their victims that they can avoid arrest by providing a credit card number or prepaid debit card to pay a fine and have the warrant lifted.
In one instance the caller instructed the victim to make payment with a Green Dot Money-Pak.
Calls have been made on pre-paid cell phones with ‘201’ area codes, the Bergen County Sheriff’s office said.
The fraud is not limited to Bergen County, officials said. Scammers have also targeted victims in neighboring counties and states.
Sheriff Michael Saudino said that government agencies will only contact residents using a publicized phone number and that jury duty notices, including summonses for failing to report for duty are sent through the mail.
“If a government agency is to contact you via phone, it will be done utilizing a bona fide publicized government phone number” Saudino said, “All notices regarding jury duty come through the mail, including summonses to report for jury duty, and failure to report for jury duty. These notices are mailed directly from the New Jersey Judiciary Jury Management Office and give you specific information on who to contact, and how to comply with the summons.”
Sheriff Saudino added that government agencies do not instruct residents to make payments via bank or wire transfers.
Anyone who believes they may also have been exposed to this or a similar type fraud is asked to contact either the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office at 201-646-2222, www.bergentip.com, or your local police department.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding jury duty, please refer to the Bergen County Superior Court Jury Management Office at www.judiciary.state.nj.us/juryreporting/bergen, or contact the jury office at 201-527-2290.
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