ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The FBI’s Philadelphia and Newark Divisions and the U.S. Marshals Service, District of New Jersey, are warning the public about a phone scam being perpetrated by callers impersonating law enforcement or court officials, according to a Nov. 8 FBI release.
The scammers say they’re with the U.S. Marshals Service, county sheriff’s department or another law enforcement agency. They accuse the call recipient of failing to appear for federal or local jury duty and warn that an arrest warrant has been issued. The intended victim is advised that he or she must pay a fine, then report to court. To settle the fine, the scammers instruct the person to buy a prepaid debit card and provide them the card information. Recent reports indicate these scammers have been targeting New Jersey residents; variations of the “jury duty” scam have been documented in numerous other states, as well.
To avoid becoming the victim of this type of phone scam, the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service offer the following tips:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls;
- Never give money or personal information to someone with whom you don’t have ties and did not initiate contact;
- Trust your instincts, so if an unknown caller pressures you or says things that don’t sound right, hang up; and
- If concerns remain about the caller’s claims, verify the information with the appropriate law enforcement agency or court officials.
Victims of phone or online scams can file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.