Intimidated, panicked and terrified. These are often the feelings victims experience while in the midst of being conned. Impersonator scams can be so convincing and frightening that anyone can be a victim.
Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest is warning those who have recently been summoned to jury duty to watch out for impersonator scams. Many of these scams can seem real and intimidating because scammers often use real law enforcement names and phone numbers with local area codes.
A woman in Northern Idaho fell victim to a jury duty scam when she received a call from a scammer using a real officer’s name from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s office. She lost $1,000 when she purchased two MoneyGrams to post bail and another $1,000 in fees during another call where they conducted a “phone court.”
BBB advises these tips to avoid jury duty imposter scams:
Never wire money. Wiring or transferring money should automatically raise a red flag because police will never ask for payment, including Green Dot MoneyPak or iTunes gift cards, over the phone.
Police officials never call to warn about an arrest or bail. But if contacted by law enforcement, always ask for police identification or credentials. Hang up the phone and look up the police or sheriff department’s number listed online and call back to verify someone has just called.
Don’t give out your personal information. Many of these scammers will ask you to verify or confirm your name, birth date and Social Security number, but jury duty notifications will never ask for personal information. This is one way scammers can steal your identity.
Fake phone calls often come in the evening. Scammers usually call after business hours because they know they have a better chance of getting victims on the phone. If called, just hang up and don’t call back.
Those who have been affected by this scam are encouraged to report their information to their local police department, the Federal Trade Commission, your state's Attorney General, and BBB Scam Tracker.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB Northwest serves more than 14 million consumers in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Western Wyoming.