The jury duty scam is one of the longest running scams out there. It’s been in existence so long, it has a few versions that come either by mail, email or phone call.
Not all ask you for money outright. Some of these scams want sensitive, personal information in order to set you up for identity theft. If you get one of these “summons” by email, it is usually attached to malware that will infect your computer with a virus and allow scammers access your your personal info.
There are ways to spot this scam and to keep yourself and your identity safe. Here are a few tips from the Better Business Bureau:
Tip 1: Be skeptical of email and unsolicited calls. Courts normally communicate through mail and do not use other types of communication like phone calls or email. If you have been summoned, it will likely come in a letter sent U.S. mail.
Tip 2: Pick up the phone. If you want to verify if your presence is required, call the court.. Don’t call the number in the email, as that will lead you to the scammer. Look for official websites in your area for the correct contact information. Also be on the look out for fake websites, too.
Tip 3: Ignore calls for immediate action. Scammers use a sense of urgency to scare you into action. Calm down, think rationally and take your time.
Tip 4: Beware of requests to pay via wire transfer or prepaid debit card (such as MoneyPak, iTunes or similar cards). Any kind of request for payment, especially by a prepaid card is always a sign of fraud.
Tip 5: Ask for help. According to the BBB, asking someone else is may reduce your chances of being scammed. Ask someone if the offer or communication sounds right to them and what they would do in your position.
Do you have additional tips to avoid jury scams? Tell us in the comments below. You can also contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
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About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!