Scam Alert: Delaware DOJ warns residents of jury duty scam
A new phone scam is targeting Delawareans and using jury duty as an excuse to extract payments from victims.
The Delaware Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit is alerting residents that scammers are calling their victims regarding missed jury duty service, most recently in Kent County.
This kind of scam is not new to Delaware and officials are saying that in the most recent scam, victims receive a call from a live person claiming to be calling from a court office and that bench warrants have been issued for the victim’s arrest due to their failure to appear for jury duty. Victims have reported that they were told that, in order to avoid arrest, they must pay a fine via a money order or gift card purchased at a convenience store or pharmacy.
The scam has included someone who refers to themselves as a major and who provides a number with a 302 area code to call back when they are ready to provide the payment.
According to Delaware’s courts, Delawareans eligible for jury duty are always notified about their obligation to serve jury duty by mail and never by telephone. If you happen to receive a call about jury duty, you can check to see if you have been summoned by calling Delaware Superior Court Jury Services at 302-735-1901 for Kent County and 302-855-7055 for Sussex County.
Officials are also reminding residents to be extra diligent about this or other telephone scams by:
• Never agreeing to pay any fine or other money over the phone, including by purchasing a money order or gift card at a store and providing the number to someone over the phone or by email. Government agencies do not take payments this way.
• Not answering calls from unknown numbers or unfamiliar persons. Scams can be “spoofed” to appear to be coming from a local number, even though the call is originating from out of state or overseas.
• Hanging up on aggressive callers, particularly those who threaten arrest.
The Attorney General encourages consumers who believe they may have been scammed to call the toll-free Consumer Hotline at 1-800-220-5424 or email the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you receive a call but have not paid any money to the scammers, you can report the phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry and file a complaint, www.donotcall.gov.