In various parts of the United States, members of the public are being targeted by phone calls and e-mails, threatening them with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts.
In some calls and e-mails, recipients are pressured to provide confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls and e-mails, which threaten recipients with fines and jail time if they do not comply, are fraudulent and are not connected with the federal courts. In other calls and e-mails, recipients are asked to provide bank account or credit card information or to purchase gift cards to pay an alleged fine or remove a warrant.
Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. mail or by e-mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for any type of payment, fine, credit card number, or any other sensitive information, such as your social security number or mother’s maiden name. Federal courts will also not serve a warrant or notify you of a warrant by e-mail, phone, or fax. Federal officials do not demand payment of money in lieu of being arrested.
Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. However, it is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official. The federal judiciary takes seriously such an offense.
If you believe that you have been the victim of fraud or have received a scam phone call, phishing e-mail, or fax, contact your local police department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (800-225-5324 or www.fbi.gov/tips), or the United States Marshals Service (202-307-9100 or www.usmarshals.gov/district/mo-e/).