FBI: Phone Scammers Are Claiming People Missed Jury Duty, Demanding Payment

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Federal officials in New Jersey warned Sunday night that scammers claiming to be from the U.S. Marshals service are telling people they missed jury duty and must pay a fine.

The FBI Philadelphia and Newark divisions and the New Jersey district U.S. Marshals service said the callers pretend to be law enforcement or court officials.

The scammers say they are with the U.S. Marshals service, the local county sheriff’s department, or another law enforcement agency. They accuse the call recipients of failing to appear for federal or local jury duty and warn that an arrest warrant has been issued.

The intended victim is told he or she must pay a fine and report to court. To settle the fine, the scammers instruct the person to buy a prepaid debit card and give them card information.

Recent reports indicate the scammers have been targeting New Jersey residents. Various recipients of the scam have been documented in other states, officials said.

The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service advised people that they should:

• Always be suspicious of unsolicited calls;

• Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you do not have ties and did not initiate contact;

• Trust your instincts – if a caller pressures you or says things that do not sound right, hang up;

• If concerns remain about the caller’s claims, verify the information with local law enforcement or court officials.

Victims of phone or online scam can file a complaint with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

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