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Jury Scam Warning

Jury Scam Warning

In recent months, in various parts of the United States, District courts have learned that scammers are attempting to trick citizens into providing personal information or money over the phone or by email. The scam often involves a claim or threat that the prospective juror will be prosecuted for a crime if they do not pay a fine, or, if they fail to comply with jury service. For example, “You missed your reporting date”. These false claims are used to coerce citizens into providing confidential data such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and mother’s maiden name, etc. which could lead to identity theft or fraud. Please be aware that scammers may use the names of legitimate judicial officers, and law enforcement personnel to lend authenticity to their illegal activity.  These calls are not from real court officials.

Another way citizens are being targeted is through emails that request recipients to reply providing personal identifiers.  While eJuror is a valid national judiciary program, Courts and the eJuror system will never request that personal identification information be sent directly in an email response.  Requests by courts to complete a juror qualification questionnaire would be initiated by formal written correspondence and would provide instructions for the juror participant to be authenticated over a secure connection. 

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.

Here are some facts that can help you identify fraudulent calls and emails:

  • Federal courts do not require citizens to provide confidential information by telephone or by email
  • Federal courts do not request credit card numbers
  • No court or law enforcement agency will ever call to request payment of a fine for failure to appear for jury duty. Fines for failure to appear for jury duty would only be imposed by a judge in a court session with the summoned juror in attendance
  • The public is not contacted initially by email or phone for jury service. Prospective jurors first receive an official court mailing (sent via U.S. Mail, in paper) which directs the juror to an online questionnaire.
  • Social Security numbers are never requested in juror qualification questionnaires.
  • Federal courts, including the U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania, use an online program for jurors called eJuror, but never request personal identification information be sent directly in an email or by phone to the Court. Requests to respond to a questionnaire or summons are initiated by formal written correspondence, and jurors are provided instructions to complete any questionnaire or summons in paper or over a secure website.

Persons receiving scam phone and email requests should not respond to them and should not provide any personal information by email or telephone. Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all citizens. It is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal official.