Man loses out on $1,000 during jury duty scam

He was tricked into paying a fine for missing jury duty, or risk jail time. Authorities are sharing tips prevent it from happening again
January 14, 2014 8:19:44 PM PST
A Harris County made a $1,000 mistake after scammers convinced him he would be in big trouble for missing jury duty.

The reason the scam worked is that people believe they will be in trouble if they miss jury duty. Authorities say jail time and big fines are not going to happen to you.

Ida Armstead spent the day on jury duty at the Harris County Courthouse. During the lunch break, the judge told her panel...

"When we went to lunch, the judge kind of made a joke that if you don't come back they will come to your job, or to your house and you'll be sorry, but he was just making a joke about it," Armstead said.

Armstead says the judge was clearly joking, but some people believe skipping jury duty can lead to big trouble.

A Harris County man told us he was scammed out of $1,000 recently when someone called his home claiming to be a deputy. The caller said pay a $1,000 fine for missing jury duty, or go to jail.

"The Harris County Sheriff's Office will never call anyone and tell anyone you have missed your court date and we need money," said Thomas Gilliand with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

Gilliand says the agency has been warning people for months about the jury duty scam. He says while you should report to jury duty when summoned, if you miss the date, you will not go to jail.

"It is a Class C citation at the most or an admonishment," Gilliand said.

Gilliand says no officers will come to your home, and no one will ask you to pay to keep from going to jail.

"We just don't do that, it is not done, it has never been done," he said.

If you get one of these calls and have caller ID, write down the number and then call the sheriff's department to report it. If you are going to miss a jury duty date, go to the Harris County Clerk's website to reschedule.

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