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Got a call from a U.S. Marshal about missing jury duty? Here’s why you shouldn’t panic

The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of a scam involving individuals posing as U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials.
The U.S. Marshals are alerting the public of a scam involving individuals posing as U.S. Marshals, court officers, or other law enforcement officials. McClatchy

There is an ongoing scam involving individuals posing as U.S. Marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials, asking people to pay up or get arrested for missing jury duty or other offenses.

The U.S. Marshals Service sent out the nationwide alert Monday – U.S. Marshals are urging people to report the calls not only to their local U.S. Marshals Service office, but also to the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud from the information collected and share that data with law enforcement.

Authorities said besides asking for the supposed “fine” for not showing up for jury duty (or another offense), the scammers would tell victims “they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card and read the card number over the phone to satisfy the fine,” according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals Service.

“Scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They sometimes provide information like badge numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials and federal judges, and courthouse addresses,” according to the news release. “They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.”

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, here are a few things to keep in mind:

▪ U.S. Marshals will never seek payment of fines via the telephone for individuals who missed jury duty or have outstanding arrest warrants.

▪ U.S. Marshals will never ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.

▪ Don’t divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers.

▪ Report scam phone calls to your local U.S. Marshals Service office and the FTC.

▪ Authenticate the call by calling the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order given by the caller.

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