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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Scammers Ripping Off Residents Who Skipped Jury Duty

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 7:49 AM

Even if you did neglect your civic responsibility and bailed on jury duty this year, that doesn't mean you owe some stranger a bunch of money. 

San Francisco police have received new information that scammers are contacting citizens claiming they have outstanding “Failure to Appear” warrants for not participating in mandatory jury duty. According to police, the crooks use convincing information, including the victim’s true address and  phone number, names of actual judges, and official office locations to validate their call for cash.

Typically, the caller will tell their victim that in order to clear the warrant they have to do one of three things: 1. turn themselves in at a specified location, 2. wait for a sheriff's deputy to come pick them up at their home, or 3. clear those warrants by paying them over the phone. 

Per the SFPD:
The suspects convince the victim to clear the warrants by phone payment and subsequently instruct the victim to load a specific dollar amount onto a “Green Dot” card. The suspect then instructs the victim to give the card information over the phone. Simultaneously, the suspect is elsewhere accessing the account and emptying out the funds. Lastly, the suspect issues the victim a false court date to “finalize” clearing of warrants. 
You should know this is a scam, because, according to Ann Donlan, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Superior Court, if you were to skip on jury duty, the court would simply send you a failure to appear notice in the mail. "We issue a notice of failure to appear, which asks the juror to call us within 10 days to reschedule or to request excuse," she tells us. 

So if you get one of those calls, here's what you need to do: hang up the phone. 

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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