Scam alert: No, you (probably) didn't miss jury duty!

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 10:30 AM EST
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It's an old scam, but experts warn it hasn't gone away: scammers, claiming you missed jury duty, and could be arrested if you don't pay a fine.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says jury duty scams have staying power, because they play on people's fear of law enforcement.

The scam starts with a phone call from someone claiming to be from law enforcement or a judicial agency. The scammers may use technology to make the number on the caller ID appear legitimate. Then, the official-sounding person on the line will claim you missed a jury duty summons and could be arrested. They might claim there is a warrant out for your arrest.

The BBB warns there are several variations of this scam. Sometimes, the scammers claim you can avoid jail by paying a fine and ask you to wire money or use a prepaid credit card. Other times, they ask for personal information instead of money.

Another version of the scam is through email, according to the BBB. Scammers send an email with your "jury summons" as an attachment. When you download it, malware infects your computer.

To spot the scam and avoid becoming a victim, the BBB has five tips:

*Be skeptical of email and unsolicited calls. Courts normally communicate through the mail.

*If you are worried you missed jury duty, call the court to find out. Make sure you find the court's number from an official source, because scammers may create fake websites.

*Ignore calls for immediate action. Take time to think and double-check.

*Beware of requests to pay through wire transfer or prepaid cards. These almost always indicate a scam.

*Ask for help. Get a second opinion from a friend or family member.

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