At least two people in Tarrant County have fallen victim to a scheme involving a man who claims to be a representative of the court and informs his victims they have missed jury duty and there is a warrant out for their arrest.
"When that person gets the call, they're caught off guard," said Paula Morales, a Tarrant County jury bailiff.
This particular ploy was being pulled around once a month earlier this year, according to Morales. Now, it has moved to nearly every day, Morales said, with 30 separate complaints coming in to her office in May.
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In order to avoid going to jail, and paying a fine up to $4,000, the caller — who has identified himself as Lt. Allen — informs his potential victims the way to pay the fine and avoid jail is to purchase a Green Dot prepaid debit card and to provide him with the card's number, Morales said.
"Most of the people are so scared because they never received the summons at home because they never were summoned," Morales said. "Because they are so scared they're willing to do anything 'cause they don't want to go to jail."
If you were to receive a call like this, you are advised to hang up, make note of the phone number that called you and inform police, according to a news release by the Tarrant County District Attorney's office.
In addition, Tarrant County Jury Services would never contact someone who missed their jury duty by telephone, the DA's office noted in its release. Instead, you would be contacted by mail, and you could not avoid prosecution or avoiding jury duty simply by paying a fine.