United States District Court officials released a public alert on July 31, 2014, warning potential jurors about a recent scam seeking personal information. Fourteen federal court districts have reported a new juror scam email fraudulently seeking personal data that may lead to identity theft.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reports that citizens have received emails claiming that they were selected for jury service and demanding that they return a form with important personal information such as their Social Security and driver’s license numbers, date of birth, cell phone number and mother’s maiden name.
According to the email, failure to provide the requested information will result in being ordered before the court to provide an explanation, and could result in fines and jail time. The emails falsely claim to be affiliated with eJuror, which is an online registration program used by some U.S. court districts.
Federal court officials warn that the emails are not connected to either eJuror or the federal courts and are completely fraudulent. It is a federal crime to falsely represent oneself as a federal court employee. The federal judiciary takes any such offense seriously.
According to the Administrative Office, eJuror never requests personal identification information to be provided directly in an email response. Any legitimate requests from courts to complete a juror qualification questionnaire will be initiated by the courts in a formal written correspondence, which tells potential jurors how to access an authenticated, secure online connection.
In a similar scam, citizens in various parts of the United States are being targeted by phone calls and threats of prosecution for failure to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. The caller will threaten fines for shirking jury duty, and then use these threats to coerce the person called into giving confidential data, which can assist in identity theft and fraud. Federal Court administrators warn that these calls are not from a real court official.
Federal courts do not use telephone calls to require anyone to provide any sensitive information. Most contact between the federal courts and a prospective juror will be via U.S. Mail. A real court official will not request social security numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information in a telephone call.
Anyone suspicious about these fraudulent emails or telephone calls is urged to contact the clerk’s office at their nearest federal district court. If you have responded to any such email or telephone call, you should take appropriate steps to safeguard their personal and financial information, which may include contacting major credit bureaus.