ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning Floridians of a new scam making its way across the state.
According to a new release, at least five Florida counties have warned of a recent rise in jury duty scams.
Scammers are contacting Florida residents and claiming that the resident missed jury duty and must pay a fine immediately or they may be arrested and forced to pay late fees.
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“There are few civic duties as important to our judicial system as serving on a jury. As a former judge, I am livid that anyone would exploit this process to scare citizens into paying a ransom or attempt to steal personal and financial information,” Moody said. “Please know that failure to appear for jury duty is not grounds for immediate arrest.”
In the past year, jury duty scams were reported in Citrus, Collier, Lake, Polk and St. Johns Counties.
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“I am especially troubled when people with bad intentions base their scams on what appears to be court business,” Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady said. “Our courts depend on jury service, and we rely on Floridians who are essential to this process. Protect yourselves from scammers and protect our system of justice by taking part in jury service.”
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Moody offered tips to protect against jury duty scams:
· Know that jury duty summons will come by mail, not by phone or email.
· If no jury duty summons is received, then ignore a phone call from anyone claiming to be calling about jury duty.
· Contact a local court clerk’s office using the Florida Courts map to see if there is a valid jury duty issue.
· Never give personal or financial information over the phone to a stranger, especially if the caller acts aggressively.
· Recognize that anyone asking for payments to be made through a gift card is a scammer.
· Be wary of Caller ID, as this can be spoofed, making a phone call look like it is coming from a real source.
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You can report suspected jury duty scams to your local County Clerk’s office or file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office online at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling (866) 9NO-SCAM.
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