North Georgia Federal Court warns of ongoing jury scams

The U.S. District Court and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia are warning residents about ongoing jury scams.

A release says fake phone calls claim the victim has missed jury duty for federal court. The scammer threatens the victims with arrest unless they buy a pre-paid credit cards and give the number to the scammers.

The U.S. District Court says this has cost victims thousands of dollars.

Reports from the Northern District’s jury office show north Georgia citizens have given away somewhere between $400 to $13,000 out of fear that an arrest warrant had been issued due to their failure to appear for jury duty.

“These schemes are often carried out by state prisoners using contraband cellphones,” said U.S. Attorney Byung Pak. “While our office has prosecuted dozens of these cases, citizens should be vigilant and suspicious of anyone who claims to be from a federal agency and demands payment for failing to appear for a jury summons. In short, a representative from a federal agency or federal court will never call demanding money.”

Lucy Moses, a Jury Administrator for U.S. District Court, says everything related to jury duty is conducted through the United States Post Office. If anyone is unsure if they were chosen, they can contact the jury office by phone.

The U.S. District Court says scammers may use real information about the victim, court addresses, law enforcement officers, court officials, and federal judges. It is even possible to fake the phone number so the caller ID falsely appears to be from a court or government agency.

The USDC goes on to say the court and law enforcement will never demand payment by phone and never ask for payment by gift card.

If a prospective juror misses a jury summons, they will be contacted by mail and could be asked to appear before a judge. A fine will not be imposed until after the individual has appeared in court and given the opportunity to explain their failure to appear. If a fine is imposed, it will be in open court and recorded in writing.

If someone wants to verify a federal jury summon, they can call the Northern District of Georgia’s jury office at 404-215-1640.

Citizens can report a scam phone call by contacting the FBI Atlanta Field Office at 770-216-3000.

The Northern District of Georgia was established by Congress in 1849 and consists of forty-six counties (14,258 square miles) in the northwestern part of the state. The district, which includes the Atlanta metropolitan area, has four divisions: Atlanta, Gainesville, Newnan and Rome.

The Gainesville division includes the following counties: Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Habersham, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Pickens, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White.