Charles County Warns of Jury Duty Scam

LA PLATA, Md. (April 14, 2008)—The Charles County Sheriff’s Office and the Clerk of Court are warning the public of the re-emergence of an identity theft scheme in which scammers make phone calls posing as a court employee to obtain personal information from their victims. The Clerk of Court does not initiate phone calls to citizens regarding jury service.

In April, a Charles County woman received a phone call from someone claiming to be a court employee. The caller said the woman had recently failed to appear for jury duty. The woman, who had not received a jury duty summons, verified her social security number with caller but became suspicious of the call and notified the court. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office has since launched an investigation.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a similar warning to the public in September 2005 after first learning of the scam. In similar scams outside of Charles County, callers had reportedly posed as police officers or court employees and said the victim had been issued a warrant for failing to appear for jury duty. They asked their alarmed victims to verify personal information so that the issue could be resolved over the phone.

The court relays information about jury duty through mailed correspondence, not via telephone. If a warrant is issued for someone who fails to appear for jury duty, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office will not call that person to inform them of the warrant.

The Sheriff’s Office wants to know if someone becomes a target of the scam. Call the Sheriff’s Office at 301-932-2222 in La Plata, 301-743-2222 in Indian Head or 301-932-7777 in Waldorf and be sure to retain any caller identification records.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens they should not provide any personal information via the telephone when they have not initiated the call themselves.

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