BBB warns of court impersonator threatening arrest for failure to appear in jury duty

Trial Court Administrator Dan Kessler is warning residents in Canyon County to be aware of someone impersonating a police officer and threatening them with arrest.

“The man identifies himself as Lt. Martin, badge #706,” Kessler says. “He’s telling them that there is a bench warrant out for their arrest for failure to appear for jury duty.”

Because of the serious nature of the call, the scam caller is hoping the victim  will be thrown off guard and panic. As the person answers the phone denying knowledge of the summons, the impersonating officer requests personal information for “verification” purposes to allegedly clear the consumer’s name an cancel the arrest warrant. The information might include:  full name, birth date, social security number, address, and (possibly) a credit card number.

“There have not been any warrants requested in Canyon County for individuals who have failed to appear for jury duty,” Kessler says. The citizens who have received these calls have not even been summoned for jury duty.”

This scam is identity theft. Court officers, according to the FBI, never ask for confidential information over the phone; they generally correspond with prospective jurors by email. Giving sensitive information over the phone – person or financial – can result in fraudulent transactions made in the victim’s name.

Better Business Bureau CEO Dale Dixon says to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft, never give out personal information when you receive an unsolicited phone call. If you believe you were a victim of this scam, contact BBB.org or call the court administrator in your area.

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3 Comments

Filed under Scam alert

3 responses to “BBB warns of court impersonator threatening arrest for failure to appear in jury duty

  1. Mark Burrows

    When the phone rings at home, and you answer it, you generally expect one of three things. Someone you know, a solicitor, or a wrong number. As such dictates, you are equally prepared to handle each situation as you have always done so.
    Then when someone calls with threats of dire straits, you as stated, may not be prepared and get caught between the fight or flight syndrome.
    You need to learn to expect these calls and deal with them. As with collection agencies, well, in a way you probably have been dreading their calls because you have not paid your bills. Still, even though you are at fault, there is no reason for them to abuse you. Also, what’s recent is scam artists posing as collection agencies trying to garner personal information.
    Here is how you handle such calls out of the blue. Request that they send you documentation via registered mail so that you can fully understand and grasp the situation and seek legal council if need be.
    Now, the reason to do this is simple, if they ask for your address, then you can reply that if they don’t know where to send the letter, then tell them to send to General Delivery, Anywhere, Anyplace USA, and hang up.
    It is simple logic, people who are legally out to get you, already know everything about you, they do not need to ask. Never allow any party to use the word confirmation unless YOU are the one making the call, such as to your bank, or even ordering a pizza. They need to make sure they are not talking to some joker or scam artist. In all my adult bachelor life, I have never had a mysterious pizza show up nor has one gone missing because it was intercepted to another address or person. I have had cold ones, ones that were dropped and stuck to the lid, and ones that were shifted to one side, but they were all replaced. Delivery personal were dismissed, except for the ones who showed up and admitted their failure. those kids I respected, I still would accept the pizza, call up and tell them the condition and the honesty of the delivery person, and demand that I better see that person often at my door or they will lose a valued customer. They of course would credit me a pizza. One place even informs me when drivers quit on their own in fear of losing my business. Yes, I can cook, but it’s a pain in the….

    Mark Burrows

  2. From Robb:
    Ada County Sheriff has gotten numerous calls threatening residents with arrest because of missed jury duty.

    The caller identifies himself as Lt. Avert or Lt. Archer and sounds very official in his conduct and voice mannerism. The number that has appeared on the caller identification was 208-221-2857 or 714-213-9401.

    Because of the serious nature of the call, the scam caller is hoping the victim will be thrown off guard and panic. As the person answers the phone denying knowledge of the summons, the impersonating officer requests personal information for “verification” purposes to allegedly clear the consumer’s name and cancel the arrest warrant.

    If the person panics, he or she is directed to buy a GreenDot card at the local pharmacy and call back with the numbers.

  3. Mark Burrows

    Misrepresentation of Law enforcement is a terrible crime. Never mind the scam itself, but either the aftermath or the ripple effect of loss of trust of those assigned to protect us from such crimes.
    Yes, we often hear about stories of corruption within the system, but believe me, they are few and far between, they make material for stories and movies more along fiction than fact. Yet, intellectually for the most part we truly do dismiss that. The only real beef some places have is the actual municipal funding for a proper sized force, but that is a political matter that residents need to address using due process of democracy because all such of those who make the decisions of how much to spend on a police force are elected officials, and citizens can campaign to have such officials removed.
    Yet, the problem at hand of criminals posing as police officers or officers of the court will harm the trust of the system. So, it is necessary to become aware and protect yourself from being abused.
    Knowledge is always your greatest shield. Logic and common sense are your best tools. Common sense will tell you that resolving anything over the telephone is wrong and buying GreenDot cards to use for call back numbers is like the fragrance of a fish market.
    Come on really, what official place would not have a local number with a recognizable area code or a toll free number if not a local call? In this day and age, anything can be easily verified. Threats are truly a thing of the past, unless you are consciously guilty and are expecting such calls.
    Always ask, never answer. This is the most simple tactic to put off any caller. If they can not give you answers that are satisfactory, then you have the right to warn them that if they call back they could be recorded for legal reasons. How do you know if they are giving good answers? Easy, if they answer your question with another question, then it isn’t an answer, it is a distraction. Hang up!

    Mark Burrows

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