Decatur police seeing uptick in jury duty scam reports

Decatur police seeing uptick in jury duty scam reports
(Source: Madison County Sheriff's Office)

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - Law enforcement will never call you and ask for money over the phone to resolve a warrant.

That's the message the Decatur Police Department wants citizens to keep in mind as the number of reports regarding the old jury duty scam continue to increase. This particular scam is widespread nationally, with many variations, but most perpetrators follow a similar formula.

Scammers will contact the victim by phone, claiming to be a deputy from the local sheriff's office. Then they'll tell the victim they've missed jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for their arrest.

The scammer will tell the victim that, in order to avoid arrest, an immediate payment is required at the local courthouse—the courthouse location is used to make the transaction seem legitimate.

The victim is then instructed to obtain prepaid cards, money pay cards, or green dot cards to pay the fine. Most related scam calls are near the closing time of the local courthouse.

Once the victim obtains the cards, they then go to the courthouse only to find the office closed. Typically, in a panic, the victim will contact the scammer to inquire about what they need to do next.

At that point, the scammers will tell the victim they can simply pay over the phone by giving them the card numbers and the scratch-off codes on the back of the cards.

The next business day, the victim will usually contact the local courthouse to inquire about the resolution of the warrant, only to discover they've been taken.

Decatur P.D. warns against this scam and any other phone calls demanding immediate payment, particularly through non-traditional means. Outstanding fines and warrants can only be addressed during business hours via check, credit card or money order.

If you have missed jury duty in Morgan County, contact the Clerk's Office at 256-351-4723, and you will be instructed on what steps to take.

Contact the Decatur Police Department at 256-341-4660, if you have been a victim or have any questions regarding this scam.

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