Nixon: Jury duty scam is ID theft

No Missourians have been targeted by scammers yet.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:16 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A scam exploiting the age-old distaste for jury duty has caught the attention of Missouri officials who are warning the public against the identity theft hoax.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon and state courts administrator Mike Buenger said in a statement that individuals posing as officers of state and federal courts in Illinois and other states have been calling people and telling them they have failed to report for jury duty. They then ask for personal information such as credit card numbers, dates of birth or Social Security numbers.

Scott Holste, spokesman for the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, said that although “phishing” scams, in which scammers attempt to steal a person’s identity or sensitive information, are nothing new, this one stands out.

“This (scam) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try and bully people into giving information by pretending they’re with the court system,” Holste said.

Joy Rushing, 13th Judicial Circuit assistant to the courts administrator, said court officials contact potential jurors for jury duty by mail and never ask for personal information. If someone fails to report for jury duty, Sgt. Les Werner of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court Marshal’s office said a court marshal will call the individual and reschedule his or her jury duty.

Holste said no Missourians have been contacted by the scammers.

Anyone who thinks they might have been a victim of the scam should call the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbia Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office consumer hotline at 800-392-8222.

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