Scammers target victims claiming they missed federal jury duty
BATON ROUGE - The Middle District of Louisiana updated their website Tuesday with information about jury duty scams after a woman in Baton Rouge claims she almost fell for the trick.
The woman said she's not naive or easily taken for a ride.
"I received an odd call yesterday saying I was summoned for jury duty," she said. "I had missed that and I had a warrant out for my arrest."
She said the call immediately rattled her due to the amount of personal information the scammers had about her, like her husband's name, her full name, address and an old address where she used to live.
"It was so real because it had so much personal information," she said. "I thought it was legit."
The feds say this scam has worked before with at least one victim paying the scammer thousands of dollars and meeting the scammer not far from the federal courthouse. They say if you are ever contacted saying you have an active arrest warrant, don't believe it, as the feds would never do that.
"Warrants are always delivered in person by a U.S. Marshal or other representative of the law," said Mike McConnell, Clerk of Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. "The court never calls individuals to solicit that type of information, and we don't conduct that business through email. All of our correspondence happens via U.S. mail."
McConnell said it's easy for people to believe what they are being told on the phone by scammers.
"They are pretty sophisticated," McConnell said. "They often reference actual judge's names or staff member's names. They know where you live, what your number is, and of course in our social age that is easy to come by."
With lessons learned about this situation, this woman is just trying to spread the word so grinches out there don't steal your holiday cheer.
"Just be aware," she said. "The man was very thorough and sounded legit. He wanted to keep me on the phone, but I was able to ask questions because I knew it didn't sound right. Be cautious this time of year."
The feds said if you are concerned, call the Middle District Court at 225-389-3650 and speak with someone there. This same scam was very prevalent during the month of September as they received multiple calls from victims saying they were contacted.
All of the cases are referred to the Marshal's Service to investigate. But finding those responsible isn't easy, as they believe some of the calls originate outside the country.