Des Moines, August 17, 2017— The Iowa Judicial Branch received reports of a jury scam currently in operation in several locations throughout the state.
In the scam, the perpetrators of the scam call the victim and falsely claim to be from the local sheriff or police department wanting to verify the victim's home address. The caller then informs the victim that there is a warrant 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). Losses have gone as high as $1,750 in Iowa.
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 local county courthouse to handle the matter without being arrested.
The public should be aware that the phone calls and notices are fraudulent. 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 Iowa Judicial Branch ePayment system (Opens in New Window).
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 your county's jury management to have any jury duty questions answered or contact your local law enforcement agency to report the receipt of these types of calls. You can find the jury manager contact information listed by county on the Iowa Judicial Branch website.
Be diligent and aware that there are individuals that will represent themselves under false pretenses for personal gain.
For More Information:
Steve Davis, Court Communications Officer, (515)725-8058 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Iowa Supreme Court
1111 East Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319