Jury duty scammers reported in area

June 21, 2014

Authorities recently warned of a scam involving phone calls to Tarrant County residents threatening fines and jail time for missing jury duty.

Apparently the scammers started trying to deceive Hood County folks soon afterward, using a different technique.

District Clerk Tonna Hitt said three local residents had called her office reporting emails with similar messages.

Whether it’s done by phone or through emails, it’s only a scam.

Hitt confirmed that Hood County employees never call or send emails to notify anyone concerning jury duty.

She said she did not have the exact wording of the bogus messages received by Hood County residents, but no one should respond with money or personal information.

“They need to call my office first before they do anything,” Hitt said. “There will be no phone calls (or emails) from anyone for not showing up.”

A Tarrant County news release made a similar statement, but it described reports of multiple telephone calls from a man identifying himself as being either with the sheriff’s office, police department or constable’s office.

Those calls threatened fines ranging as high as $4,000 or even incarceration. The residents were told that to avoid an arrest warrant being issued, they must purchase a reloadable debit card to pay the fine.

“The citizen is instructed to go to a local Walmart or grocery store to obtain a Green Dot money card, which is a prepaid reloadable debit card,” the Tarrant County press release states. “The scam artists are using disposable cell phones so they have no problem giving the citizen a phone number to call them back. Once the citizen gets the Green Dot money card, they are instructed to give the (card) information over the phone, which will satisfy the fine and the warrant will be dismissed.”

But there was no warrant in the first place.

Hitt said if a resident fails to show for jury duty, a notification will be mailed through regular U.S. mail.

Unless a legitimate excuse is given to Bailiff Ron Berryman within 14 days, a potential fine of $200 can be assessed. Payment would be required by cash, check or money order – not a debit card.

If you get a call or email threatening a fine or jail time because of allegedly missing jury duty, report it to Hitt’s office by calling 817-579-3236.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 254

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Category: News