January 30, 2009

Police warn about jury duty scam

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Department of Public Safety is warning area residents of a potential scam involving purported jury duty.

A caller claiming to be a jury coordinator with a court system asks for personal information, including a Social Security number and birth date, in verifying information regarding jury summonses. The caller claims the information is needed to check whether the person was sent a jury summons and to cancel the arrest warrant for not showing up.

SIUC police officer Scott Miller emphasized that people should not give out personal information over the telephone unless they specifically know the person with whom they are talking. He also emphasized people should not give out personal information involving telephone solicitations.

If a person is in doubt about a caller’s intentions, Miller said it is good to get a return telephone number. He also suggested calling a local police department to report any suspicious activity. The same precautions and admonishments against providing personal information also apply to unsolicited e-mail inquiries, Miller said.

There are reports of the jury duty scam in 11 states, including Illinois, Oklahoma and Colorado. Miller said there are no reports about the scam to SIUC police.

For more information call the SIUC Department of Public Safety at 618/453-3771.