please email suggestions for next week's.

Here's a new twist scammers are using to commit identity theft... the 'jury duty scam'. Here's how it works:

The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court and claims you've failed to report for jury duty. He tells you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest.

The victim will often rightly claim they never received the jury duty notification. The scammer then asks the victim for confidential information for "verification" purposes.

Specifically, the scammer asks for the victim's Social Security number, birth date, and sometimes even for credit card numbers and other private information — exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft.

So far, this jury duty scam has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state.

It's easy to see why this works. The victim is clearly caught off guard, and is understandably upset at the prospect of a warrant being issued for his or her arrest. So, the victim is much less likely to be vigilant about protecting their confidential information.

In reality, court workers will never call you to ask for social security numbers and other private information. In fact, most courts follow up via snail mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.

Action: Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information when you receive a telephone call.

This jury duty scam is the latest in a series of identity theft scams where scammers use the phone to try to get people to reveal their Social Security number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information.

It doesn't matter *why* they are calling — all the reasons are just different variants of the same scam.

Protecting yourself is simple: Never give this info out when you receive a phone call.

Weigh in... what stories have you heard and/or how has identity theft personally affected you?

Kudo's to 'jc's designs'


puppytoes said...

whoo-hoo! i wasn't #10,000, but i'm first today!

i am very wary of giving out information, even when i know the person/company asking for it.

i don't personally know a victim of identy theft--tho', like you, i've read many accounts of this crime. it's very scary, and i'm glad you posted this story...

anyone who's ever received a summons for jury duty would probably know they'd never be called for "not showing up"--you only have to report once to see how bogged down the court systems are... but, heck, even if ya missed an appearance, they don't arrest you (at least not in connecticut) they just let you make it up. i know this because it happened to me... i couldn't find the courthouse and had to call them to say i'd be late and they just told me to come in the following day.

good/important information, karen, and great subject for discussion! thanks! : D

The Phoenix said...

I was scammed when I had made plane ticket reservations with the now defunct TWA. Someone in reservations used my credit card to buy tickets to fly all over the south...TN and TX, I believe.

I got a call from the FBI even before my statement came in the mail, and I was able to have the charges removed. I have no idea if they ever caught the person.

Jack K. said...

You go Karen. I always check out these claims with Snopes. They give this one a big thumbs up for being potentially costly to lots of folks.

I got lucky, the last time I responded to my written notice for jury duty. Their response to my reply was that I would no longer be considered. It something to do with diminished capacity or something. Damend senior moments. Hell, I can't even find the notebook wherein I keep my list of things to remember.

I would never give out personal information on the phone or to an email address.

btw, our local paper included this email address to send phishing emails to: phishing@irs.gov. I have included it in my contact/address book.

Whenever I get a susupected phishing email, like ones from ebay, paypal or some banking institution where I don't have accounts, I send that information onto the anti-phishing folks.

I open a new email, address it to the IRS, then I copy the headers of the suspect email and paste it into the new email. I also copy and paste the message the same way. In this way the IRS will have all of the information they need to track them down.

I also use this technique with my ISP to alert them to spam so that they can block that address.

Hope this is helpful.

Karen said...

Thanks all for your info; you never can be too informed.

btw, jack... thanks for the link. I did check it out on Snopes before posting but didn't think of linking it. It's now linked highlighted in red.

Jack K. said...

You're welcome. My pleasure to serve.