Jury scams have been around for years, but with email being one of the main forms of communication for people today, scammers have a whole new way to target their victims. Officials in over a dozen states have issued public warnings about scammers contacting individuals pretending to be court officials and seeking personal information.
Jury Duty Phone Scams
All over the US, people are being targeted by phone calls threatening them with legal action for failing to comply with jury service in either federal or state courts.
In the calls, victims are pressured or even frightened into providing confidential data, which can lead to identity theft and fraud. Recipients of the phone calls are threatened with arrest and fines if they do not comply. If the victims say they never received a jury duty notification, the scammers will request confidential information for “verification purposes.”
The types of information that the scammer will ask for are:
– Social Security number
– Date of birth
– Credit card numbers
Scammers will usually use prepaid phones or caller ID spoofing, which makes it look like the call is coming from a local law enforcement agency or court office. They’ll even go as far as to leave a phone number that plays a phony recording that sounds similar to the real one played at the courthouse.
By catching victims off-guard and using scare tactics, the scammers can get everything they need to commit identity theft.
Jury Duty Email Scams
Jury duty email scams use a similar approach to the phone scams, where scammers claim that victims missed jury duty and request personal information to resolve the issue.
Another type of jury duty scam implemented through email was discovered by the federal court system last fall, and at least 14 U.S. court districts were affected. Individuals around the country received emails claiming that they had been selected for jury duty service and were instructed to return the attached online form.
The form requested personal information such as Social Security number, date of birth, driver’s license number, and mother’s maiden name. Additionally, the email stated that anyone who failed to provide the information would have to report to court and could face fines and jail time.
The emails work by appearing as if they come from the “National eJuror Program,” which is an official online registration program used in about 80 U.S. district courts. However, these fake emails are in no way connected to the actual eJuror program.
How to Recognize a Jury Duty Scam
Fortunately, there are a few ways to know if you are being targeted by a jury duty scam. If you receive any correspondence from a court, keep the following information in mind. It will help you determine if it is a scam or not:
– eJuror, the legitimate online jury registration program, never asks that confidential information is sent directly by email.
– Federal courts always use postal mail to contact prospective jurors.
– Social Security numbers are never required when completing online jury forms.
– Court workers will never call to ask for Social Security numbers and other confidential information.
– Most courts follow up via regular mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.
– Federal courts do not require you to provide sensitive information over a telephone call.
– Court workers will never call you to tell you if you missed jury duty.
What to Do If You’ve Been Targeted by a Jury Duty Scam
If you gave your personal information to a jury duty scammer, or if you suspect you’ve been targeted by one, take the following action:
– Check your credit card and bank statements for unauthorized charges. Contact your credit card company or bank immediately if you notice anything suspicious.
– Monitor your credit report, and report any fraudulent activity to the Federal Trade Commission.
– Contact the clerk of court’s office at your nearest district court to notify them of the scam.
Be On Guard
Jury duty scams conducted via phone calls or emails are just one of the many phishing scams that criminals use to gain sensitive information from both businesses and individuals. By using scare tactics and impersonating authority figures, jury duty scams can be incredibly effective at getting enough information from victims to commit identity theft.
Awareness and education are both excellent ways to avoid becoming a victim of phishing attacks like this one. We provide phishing training to help your business reinforce its Human Firewall®. Contact Global Learning Systems today for training that will protect both your business and your employees from harmful phishing attacks.