Flower Mound Realtor Tess Turner warned other people Thursday about how she almost fell victim to an old scam that’s surfacing again in North Texas.
“This makes me so upset because I’m the most skeptical person,” Turner said. “I’ve heard all the stories, you owe taxes or you have a warrant out for your arrest and this is what you have to do. I’ve heard all those stories, but I hadn’t heard this one.”
She received a call this week from a person claiming to be with the Dallas County Sheriff, saying she failed to appear for federal jury duty in Dallas. She had just received a Denton County Jury summons so that’s partly why Turner said she fell for the scheme at first.
“They were going to book me, it was going to take a few hours and fingerprint me,” Turner said.
Instead she was told she could bring $2,000 to the Frank Crowley Courthouse.
Still on the phone with the caller, she stopped at the house of a friend who recorded cell phone video of Turner's anxious visit.
“He wanted me to stay on the phone, and go pick up my son and go to the bank and I don't know what else to do,” Turner is heard saying to her friend in the video.
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The friend told Turner to go to the Flower Mound Police station instead of going to Dallas. On the way, Turner saw a Flower Mound Police car that she flagged down. That officer got on the phone with the scammer, who immediately stopped the call.
“It makes really angry and this is why. The police even told me. There’s nothing we can do. These numbers are spoofed, they’re not traceable,” Turner said.
Real Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy Raul Reyna said he has heard many similar stories in the past about Jury Duty scammers.
“Most of the time they will ask you to go place money on a prepaid card, and just stay with them on the phone as you're doing it so that they, you don't have a chance to call the police,” Reyna said.
At the Frank Crowley Courthouse, Reyna said he has met victims who arrive looking for people they’ve been told to meet.
Typically, the victim has given the scammers numbers from the pre-paid cards, so the money is already gone.
“I felt bad for a lot of these people,” Reyna said. “The banks, financial institutions, they won’t refund that money back.”
The real deputy said people are strongly encouraged not to skip jury duty but authorities will not call and threaten jail time if you do.