Chattanooga area residents are being targeted by phone calls regarding failure to report for jury duty from a person claiming to be from the U.S. Marshal Service. The scam involves an individual contacting the victim, telling him/her that he/she has missed federal jury duty, and demanding the victim pay a fine to avoid being arrested.
Often, to make the scheme believable, victims are provided with factual information such as the title and badge number of a law enforcement officer or court official, the name of a federal judge, and the courthouse address. They are also using technology to mask their phone number on caller ID and make it appear as if the call is actually coming from the court or a government agency. This tactic is called “spoofing” and has become very common with scammers nationwide. In some cases, the scammer may carry the scheme out via email with an official looking email address.
If you receive a jury duty related call or email, do not provide any personal information or send money. The U.S. Marshal Service does not call or email prospective jurors or ask for money or personal information and they never serve an arrest warrant by phone. Real, valid arrest warrants are always served in person. They also do not demand the payment of money in lieu of arrest, nor accept payment via prepaid card.
Anyone receiving one of these calls or emails should report it report it immediately to their local U.S. Marshals Service, 423-752-5115 or the FBI, https://tips.fbi.gov. If available, please have the caller ID or email address information of the scammer when you call.