Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Jury Duty Scam Leads to Identity Theft

Here's a new twist scammers are using to commit identity theft: the jury
duty scam. Here's how it works:

The scammer calls claiming to work for the local court and claims you've
failed to report for jury duty. He tells you that a warrant has been issued
for your arrest. The victim will often rightly claim they never received
the jury duty notification. The scammer then asks the victim for
confidential information for "verification" purposes.

Specifically, the scammer asks for the victim's Social Security number,
birth date, and sometimes even for credit card numbers and other private
information -- exactly what the scammer needs to commit identity theft.

So far, this jury duty scam has been reported in Michigan, Ohio, Texas,
Arizona, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington state.
The BBB of North Alabama has not yet had any reports of this scam targeting
North Alabama.

It's easy to see why this works. The victim is clearly caught off guard, and
is understandably upset at the prospect of a warrant being issued for his or
her arrest. So, the victim is much less likely to be vigilant about
protecting their confidential information.

In reality, court workers will never call you to ask for social security
numbers and other private information. In fact, most courts follow up via
mail and rarely, if ever, call prospective jurors.

Action: Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers or
other personal confidential information when you receive a telephone call.

This jury duty scam is the latest in a series of identity theft scams where
scammers use the phone to try to get people to reveal their Social Security
number, credit card numbers or other personal confidential information.

It doesn't matter “why” they are calling -- all the reasons are just
different variants of the same scam. Identity theft is real and it’s
happening just about everywhere.

Protecting yourself is simple: Never give this info out when you receive a
phone call.

When In Doubt…

Check It Out with your BBB!

(H/T Darrell)

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