Sheriff: Beware of jury-duty scam

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By Kayla Vaughn

Scammers are using jury duty as a ploy to get Lancaster County victims to send them money, the sheriff’s office warned the public Jan. 7.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, callers are posing as officers, telling victims a warrant has been issued for their arrest because they have failed to show up for jury duty. In order to avoid arrest, the release said, the caller tells the victim to send money in the form of a GreenDot card or some other type of payment to a specific address, sometimes even the Lancaster County Courthouse.
Some of the victims have called the number back and gotten a recording identifying it as the sheriff’s office. Some victims have actually sent money to the addresses, sheriff’s spokesman Doug Barfield said.
“Don’t do it!” the press release reads. “These calls are bogus. The caller wants your money. If you send money, you will not get it back.”
If people fail to report for jury duty at the courthouse or magistrate court, they may receive a telephone call from personnel asking why they did not show up, but no one will be told to send money.
“The courts don’t do business this way, and neither does the sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Barry Faile said.
“If you get one of these calls, call us. We’ll get you squared away. Just don’t send money.”  
If a warrant has been issued for failure to report for jury duty, the release said, an officer will approach the subject in person, wearing a uniform and carrying the proper credentials.
“Officers of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office never demand payment from a citizen in lieu of arrest,” the press release said.
Victims are asked to collect as much information from the callers as possible, including their names and the numbers they are calling from, then report the information to the sheriff’s office immediately.
Call the sheriff’s office at (803) 283-3388, or if you have a question about whether you really missed jury duty, call the clerk of court at (803) 285-1581 or the magistrate court at (803) 283-3983.