PHOENIX – The Maricopa County Superior Court said scammers are tricking Valley residents over the phone into paying up to avoid arrest and fines for not showing up for jury duty.
The jury office said some people had lost as much as $6,000 in the fraud calls demanding payment in prepaid debit or gift cards.
“The scam is sophisticated, but the public must know that the court does not fine people by phone for not appearing for jury duty,” Matthew Martin, jury administrator, said in a press release Thursday.
“The court issues failure to appear notices, and potential jurors are asked to reschedule jury service for a later date.”
The “fines” range from $500 to several thousand dollars.
Scam victims began mailing the jury office the prepaid cards to prove they had paid by phone.
“This was a red flag,” Martin said.
He said the office had recently received 13 cards totaling more than $6,300.
The callers tell buyers to read off the card numbers once the scratch-off strip is removed. The funds are then available to the scammers.
The court has alerted the Arizona Attorney General’s Office of the fraud scheme.
If anyone is contacted about paying jury service fines, the court advises not to give out personal information or agree to pay. They should write down the phone number then notify their local law enforcement.
People can check their jury duty status by calling the court at 602-506-5879.
The court website explains how jury service works.