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News Release

July 19, 2017

Contact: Steve Davis, Court Communications Director, (515)725-8058 or steve.davis@iowacourts.gov

 

Jury Scam Reported in Polk County  

Des Moines, July 19, 2017 —The Polk County Sheriff's Department and the Polk County Clerk of District Court received reports of a jury scam currently in operation in Polk County. 

In the scam, the perpetrators of the scam call the victim and falsely claim to be from the Polk County Sheriff's Department or a local police department wanting to verify the victim's home address. The caller then informs the victim that there is a warrant out for his or her arrest for failure to appear for a jury service. The caller gives specific amounts owed to the courts, in one case $494 (fine), $494 (contempt of court) and $189 (warrant processing fee). 

The caller instructs the victim to get a money order at the nearest bank or convenience store and call a local phone number for further instructions. The victim is told to complete this before 4:30 p.m. on the day of the call so he or she can meet someone at the Polk County Courthouse to handle the matter without being arrested. 

The public should be aware that the phone calls and notices are a scam. People who fail to appear for jury duty are not contacted by telephone. Also, law enforcement officers do not collect fines and fees. Fines and fees can only be paid to the clerk of courts office, by mail or by walk in, or on the secure ePayment system on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at https://www.iowacourts.state.ia.us/ESAWebApp//EPayment/EPaymentSearchFrame.jsp. 

A variation of the scam involves notices sent to the victim stating that there is a warrant for his or her arrest because the victim did not show up for jury duty. The notice includes a telephone number to call. According to reports, the person who answers the phone falsely claims to be with a local law enforcement agency and tells the victims that he or she can pay a fine to avoid arrest. 

If you receive calls or notices similar to these, DO NOT follow the instructions given. Please call the Polk County Courthouse Jury Management at (515) 286-3769 to have any jury duty questions answered or contact Polk County Sheriff's Department Dispatch at (515) 286-3333 or your local law enforcement agency to report the receipt of these types of calls. Be diligent and aware that there are individuals that will represent themselves under false pretenses for personal gain.

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2017

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