Monday, May 22, 2006

I received the following article as an e-mail recently and thought I should publish it as a public service.  Take it for what it is worth.  

“Please pass this on to everyone in your e-mail address book.  It is spreading fast so be prepared should you get this call.

Most of us take those summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out of their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of scam has surfaced.  Fall for it and your identity could be stolen….”

“In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn’t show up for jury duty.  The caller claims to be a jury coordinator.

If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your social security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant.  Sometimes they even ask for credit card numbers.  Give out any of this information and bingo!  Your identity just got stolen.  (As a general rule: never give your social security number out over the phone unless you initiated the call and are sure who you are speaking with and know it is a necessity to provide your number—my addition.)

The scam has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and California….

This scam is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they’re with the court system.  (I don’t know about all states, but I doubt that many states if any actually contact people by phone for the court system—my addition.)

The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their web sites, warning consumers about the fraud.”



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