WARNING: Jury Service or Arrest Warrant Scams May Lead to Fraud
Jury Service Scams
In various parts of the United States, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. In the calls, the threat of a fine for shirking jury service is used to coerce those called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls are not from real court officials. Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information.
Arrest Warrant Scams
In arrest warrant scams, people are threatend with criminal arrest if a fine is not paid. In the scam, a fictitious arrest warrant on criminal charges is mailed to an individual, offering a chance to avoid arrest through the payment of a specific amount. The individual is again asked to provide confidential data and a credit card number to clear the charges. Another scam involves a phone call stating that a warrant has been issued and the individual will be arrested if a fine is not paid. Further complicating the matter is that the calls appear to be legitimate court numbers, but are, in fact, bogus, as technology is being used to spoof the Caller ID system. These requests are not legitimate and do not originate from this court or other court related agencies. Federal courts do not require anyone to provide sensitive information in a telephone call, including requests for social security numbers or credit card numbers.
Phony Email Scams
The federal judiciary has learned of an email scam, in which emails purporting to come from federal and state courts are infecting recipients with computer viruses. According to the Security Operations Center of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the emails are instructing recipients to report to a hearing on a specified day and time. The emails also instruct recipients to review an attached document for detailed case information. When the attachments or links in the email are opened, a malicious program is launched that infects the recipient's computer. Several state courts have reported similar schemes, and also are warning the public about potential viruses. Unless you are actively involved in a case in federal court and have consented to receive court notifications electronically, you generally will not be served with court documents electronically.
Federal courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Real court officials will not request social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information. ok - thanPersons receiving such telephone calls, or fictious mailings, should not provide the requested information, and should notify the Clerk of Court's office of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento at 916-930-4000 or Fresno at 559-499-5600.