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County official warns of jury service scam

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Denton County District Clerk Sherri Adelstein is warning residents to be wary of a jury service scam.

The scam involves someone contacting residents by telephone and telling them that they missed jury duty and must pay a $749 fine or face jail time.

“I would hate to see people that are taking their jury service seriously and are concerned they inadvertently missed a notice,” said Denton attorney Earl Dobson. “They are trying to do the right thing and getting scammed out of money — that’s just wrong.”

It was Dobson who alerted the county on behalf of a friend who was targeted by the scam. The friend reported that she had been contacted by an individual who said a warrant would be issued for her arrest unless she paid a fine.

Dobson said he had heard about the scam being reported in Tarrant County recently and advised his friend to report the call to the police.

When she did, she learned that a number of other people had called in to report similar experiences, he said.

“It’s a pretty good scam in terms of the way they sell it; it is pretty convincing,” Dobson said.

“There is never any face-to-face meeting and nowhere the person could go and physically show up,” he said.

Adelstein said jury services will never call and tell people they have a warrant out for their arrest and tell them to pay a fine.

“That is not the procedure for people who do not show up for jury duty,” she said. “Unless you were ordered by a court to appear somewhere and you failed to appear, that is the only time the court has the authority to issue a warrant for someone’s arrest.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.