United States citizens are being targeted by phone calls, emails, and through the mail and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. The courts will never assess a fine or penalty for failing to appear for jury service without first having the person appear before a judge. These fraudulent schemes may extend to other types of appearance before the Court.
Recently we have received reports of individuals receiving documents through the mail or receiving phone calls or emails demanding payment, requiring the execution of an affidavit or an appearance at a designated location, or requesting other information or action due to failure to appear for jury service. Any such communication demanding payment or other action for failure to appear for jury service is fraudulent. Do not send any payment or provide any personal identifying information such as a social security number or credit card number. In such cases, please retain the envelope and contents, and file a Mail Fraud Complaint with the United States Postal Inspection Service.
In the phone calls, the threat of a fine for shirking jury service is used to coerce individuals into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls are not originating from actual court officials. Federal courts do not request sensitive information in a telephone call. The initial contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.
Juror phishing email scams are also on the rise. Recipients are asked to provide personal identifiers (social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, etc.) on an attached form and email back to the originator. Bankruptcy courts never request personal identification information be returned in an email response. Our requests to complete a summons questionnaire or qualification questionnaire are initiated by formal written correspondence that provide instructions for the juror and are authenticated over a secure connection.
Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. It is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official. The federal judiciary takes seriously such an offense.
Persons receiving such a telephone call, bogus email, or suspicious jury mail correspondence should not provide the requested information nor should any money, MoneyPak, cash card, Green Dot card or similar payment method be provided; instead please contact the Clerk of Court's office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of South Carolina at 803-765-5436. In addition, persons receiving such jury and other scams are encouraged to report these to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to formally document the complaint. Complaints can be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.ic3.gov.
Please see the articles and links below for more information on juror scams: