FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Major Lafayette Woods, Jr.
Operation Commander/Public Information Officer
SHERIFF'S OFFICE WARNS OF JURY DUTY SCAM: Jefferson County, Arkansas – Monday, June 5, 2017 – Citizens in Jefferson County, AR are being targeted by phone calls and emails, threatening them with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in circuit court.
Through calls made by an unidentified male voice utilizing phone numbers that resemble that of one used the sheriff's office, recipients are advised that they were absent from jury duty. Recipients are then threatened with jail time if they do not comply by traveling to a store, e.g., Dollar Tree, Wal-Mart, Walgreens Dollar Store and purchasing a Netspend or another pre-paid credit card referred to as a voucher by the caller. The caller then instructs the would-be victim to pay to have money loaded on the card ranging from $400 to $800 to satisfy fines for being absent from jury duty. These type of calls are fraudulent and are not connected with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Office of the Circuit Clerk or Jefferson County Circuit Courts.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Office of the Circuit Clerk or divisions of the Jefferson County Circuit Courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call or email. Most contact between a circuit court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. mail, and any phone contact by real sheriff’s office and/or court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information. No deputy or member of law enforcement should ever threaten you for failing to comply with a notice for jury duty. Furthermore, no deputy or member of law enforcement should ever force you to remain on the telephone with the threat of arrest if you attempt to contact someone to verify the call.
Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. However, it is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a law enforcement officer or court official. “Such an offense is taken seriously by our office, as we aim to identify, investigate, and seek prosecution of anyone who purports to be a law enforcement officer or officer of the courts.”
“Persons receiving such a telephone call or email should not provide the requested information, and should immediately notify the sheriff’s office.”