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Courts warn Hoosiers to watch out for jury duty phone scam

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 7, 2014) – Some Hoosiers are being told they missed jury duty and owe money for failing to appear, but those calls are fraudulent, court officials say.

Several Indiana trial courts alerted the Division of State Court Administration and Indiana Judicial Center to the scam. Only a few incidents have been reported so far, but the courts want Hoosiers to know about it.

Judges in Henry and Hamilton counties were alerted that residents received phone calls making fake claims about missed jury duty. The caller said the individuals failed to show up for jury duty and said they’d have to appear in court unless they paid a fine. The caller then asked for financial information over the phone.

Indiana courts never ask potential jurors or those who’ve missed jury duty for money. Courts don’t request specific bank account numbers, credit card information or Personal Identification Numbers (PIN). Courts would never call jurors and pressure them to provide those details.

In Indiana, initial contact with potential jurors is conducted through the mail with a written jury summons or questionnaire. Those forms may ask for information like name, age, occupation, marital status, prior jury service or proficiency in the English language.

If someone fails to appear for jury duty, the judge can send the sheriff to compel that person to go to jury selection. Jurors who skip their duty can be held in contempt and ordered to pay a fine. None of those actions will happen over the phone.

Any questions about jury service should be directed to the clerk or court in your county. You’ll find a list of contact information here.

If you get a suspicious call about jury duty, you should contact police.