By Patrick Yost
Morgan County authorities are warning citizens of a telephone scam that may be headed to Morgan.
According to Capt. Chris Bish, Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, the “jury duty scam” has started again in certain parts of the state.
“The jury duty scam remains one of the most successful multi–purpose scams in the fraudsters tool chest. The successful scam artist not only gains a quick payoff, they often times acquire enough personal information to commit identity theft as well,” Bish wrote in a Nixel alert.
Bish said the fraudsters pretend to be members of the law enforcement community and call victims and tell them that they failed to appear as a defendant or witness or jury member and because of this they are in contempt of court and a warrant has been issued for their arrest.
They then demand money via a debit card or gift card to resolve the false issue.
“We’re not going to make phone calls,” Bish said.
The calls typically come after normal business hours so victims cannot make an immediate call to the law enforcement agency in question to confirm. The scammers also will mask their phone number identity utilizing software readily available on the internet. Callers will also demand full name, Social Security numbers to “confirm” the victim’s identity.
Bish said the scam has begun to surface in the metro Atlanta area and investigators believe it is headed toward Morgan County. “People are falling for it coast to coast,” he said.
“Morgan County residents always receive jury summonses/notices via the U.S. Mail with specific instructions and if by chance a resident fails to appear, a Morgan County Deputy Sheriff will proceed to the residence to personally discuss the issue with the resident. “
“If you receive a telephone call from someone representing any government entity, immediately ask them for their full name, title/position, supervisor’s name and the agency’s main telephone number before engaging in conversation with them. Then verify their purported identity by contacting that organization directly by telephone, through its official website or request a representative from that agency meet you at your local law enforcement agency,” Bish wrote.