Posing as judiciary officials, scammers target potential jurors, court interpreters, court reporters, and others by trying to collect personal information and/or money, and threatening fines, prison time or other penalties if they fail to comply with certain demands.
If you receive a threatening phone call or email, refrain from disclosing any information requested. Federal courts will never use a phone call or email to request personal or financial information, or to threaten recipients who don't comply. Be skeptical of any emails or calls that:
- Ask for credit/debit card/gift card numbers, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers for any purpose.
- Ask you to provide any sensitive information, like your date of birth or social security number.
These calls and emails, which threaten recipients with fines and jail time if they do not comply, are fraudulent and are not connected with the federal courts.
Current Known Scams
In various parts of the United States, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts.
In the calls, the threat of a fine for shirking jury service is used to coerce those called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls are not from real court officials.
Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.
Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. However, 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 should not provide the requested information, and should notify the Clerk of Court's office of the U.S. District Court in their area.