Jury duty phone scam springs up again

WASHINGTON — It’s a scam that seems to come around every spring: The caller says you missed jury duty or there’s a warrant for your arrest — but you can settle it right now on the phone with a credit card payment. 

It’s not true.

“Under no circumstances whatsoever will any member of the Montgomery County Police Department or the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office tell any residents that they can pay a fine to avoid a warrant,” said Officer Rick Goodale, a Montgomery County police spokesman.

All warrants must be served, Goodale said, and then resolved by a court.

“There’s never a situation where someone can pay a fine to avoid a warrant,” he said.

If you do get a jury duty scam call, Goodale said, you can help police by getting as much information as you can from the caller.

“Listen for ambient background noise,” he advised. “A lot of time, these calls generate from overseas. If you hear strange accents or foreign languages in the background, that’s always helpful.”

“See if they’ll provide you any type of phone numbers. Maybe detectives can cross-reference and see if it comes back to anything else,” he said. “Anything the potential scammer may inadvertently give away to help detectives charge these people is always helpful.”

The AARP has additional details about the scam on its blog.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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