Osceola deputies warn of jury duty phone scam that demands money

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - At least two people in Osceola County have fallen victim to a scam caller who claimed they had missed jury duty and could be arrested if they didn't pay up.

Kissimmee resident Shirley Brown said she will show up for jury duty because she received an official summons in the mail, but she said she won't send money to anyone calling about it.

"Times are getting hard now, you know.  And I don't send any money or anything," said Brown.

Brown and other Osceola County residents are leery after at least two people forked over hundreds of dollars to a caller as part of a jury duty scam.

"It definitely is a scamming world out there. I think everybody is in the business of scamming basically," said Kissimmee resident Crystal Davison.

An Osceola County Sheriff's Department representative said the caller used an official title to make serious threats.

"The caller indicated that he was a lieutenant with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, that they had missed jury duty and a warrant had been issued for their arrest," said Twis Lizasuain with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

According to the Sheriff's Department, the caller would tell the victims to go to a convenience store and buy prepaid credit cards.  He would the use the numbers on the credit cards to buy whatever he wanted.

Officials said the man he even provided his victims with a number so they could call him back. Investigators are in the process of trying to trace the number.

The same scam had Orange County residents alarmed just two months ago.

In the Orange County incidents, the caller even tossed around the name of Chief Judge Belvin Perry.

Investigators believe the same person is responsible in the Orange and Osceola county incidents.

"They're mean, really, to tell you the truth. That's wrong.  They're mean," said Davison.

According to court officials, residents should know that all court dealings are normally dealt with in person or through the mail and if someone misses a jury date a fine is typically imposed.