Don't fall victim to jury duty scam

February 22, 2008 1:13:51 PM PST
Beware of an identity thief making threats about jury service in order to get your personal information.There were reports of a similar scam in 2005, but it seems to be appearing again. A Harris County resident reported the suspicious phone call to the District Clerk's Office on Wednesday.

The set-up to this potential victim began with a phone call from someone claiming to be with the Harris County jury assembly room staff. The victim was told he or she failed to report to jury duty and would be subject to a $300 fine. The crook then offered to settle the debt with a credit card. Fortunately the victim didn't have a credit card, and the additional questions apparently rattled the thief enough so that he hung up.

After the thief hung up, the target checked the District Clerk's Web site,, and found a warning about just such a scam.

District Clerk Theresa Chang said, "Please remember, do not give out personal information over the phone to anyone who calls you claiming to be with the judicial system or our office."

Here is the warning from the Web site:

    Identity thieves have called Harris County residents and threatened them for failing to report for jury service. The thieves then asked for confidential information. The local courts and Jury Assembly Room staff will NEVER call you and ask for Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information. Do not give out such information over the phone to anyone who calls you claiming to be with the judicial system.
Chang said, "This was a close call. If the target had had a credit card, this would be a sad story. As it is, the thief's target is helping us warn others."

- Headlines at a glance