HELENA – Getting a jury summons in the mail is just part of being a registered voter, but now scammers are using that to try and take your money. Not everyone will get to serve on a jury, but chances are you have received a letter telling you to report to the courthouse for your civic duty.
The Montana Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) is warning everyone that scammers are now taking advantage of that — and trying to take your money. Your phone will ring and it could say your local courthouse, but the caller is not legitimate.
“One says ‘ahh you’ve missed jury duty, you were supposed to be here but you didn’t show up. We want to make this right, we want to help you get out of trouble,’ said Matt Dale with the Montana Office of Consumer Protection. “The other person says you’ve missed jury duty and threatens ‘oh you’re going to get arrested’.”
Dale says the calls usually call after hours, adding that regardless of the way the scammer explains the scenario, the goal is the same.
“it alerts the person that they were supposed to have been at the courthouse and they didn’t make it so they can either buy their way out of trouble or pay a fine in order to keep from going to jail,” he explained.
The scammer will ask you to buy gift cards. Now, if you’re unsure if the call is real, dale says you can always hang up and call the courthouse to find out.
Dale says OCP has seen about 300 reported jury duty scams, accounting for around one-third of all scams in Montana. Anyone who has received one of these calls should report it to the OCP at (406) 444-4500 or 1-800-442-2174.