FBI Richmond
Public Affairs Specialist Dennette Rybiski
(804) 261-1044
November 20, 2019

Scam Alert: Jury Duty Scams Resurface in East Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA, TN—Some East Tennesseans continue to receive fraudulent phone calls and emails claiming they failed to appear for federal jury duty or respond to a federal court summons. The scammer tells the victim that he or she can avoid arrest by paying a fine immediately and may request payment information or other personal information. The scammer also may request that the victim purchase a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card or gift card, and deliver it to the scammer.

The scammer may provide information like titles and badge numbers of legitimate law enforcement officers or court officials, names of federal judges, and courtroom addresses in an attempt to make the scam appear credible. Scammers may even “spoof” the phone number so that it appears to be from the Court or a government agency when it is not.

These phone calls and emails are not from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

If someone receives such a call or email, they should not provide any personal information, credit card numbers, prepaid cards, or money. Federal courts do not call prospective jurors and ask for money or personal identifying information over the telephone. If someone who actually has been summoned for jury duty fails to appear, that person will receive correspondence by U.S. Mail, not by phone or email.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming the victim of this type of phone scam:

  • Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls.
  • Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact.
  • Trust your instincts: if an unknown caller pressures you, or says things that don’t sound right, hang up!
  • If concerns remain about the caller’s claims, verify the information with the appropriate law enforcement agency or court officials.

Anyone receiving a jury duty / failure to appear scam phone call should report it, with a description of the caller and any available caller ID information, to their local or FBI office or online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.ic3.gov.