Sarasota News Leader

03/07/2014

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The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has joined the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court and County Comptroller in warning the public about what is known as "the jury duty scam." Sarasota County residents have reported receiving phone calls from people claiming to be court employees or with the "warrant department" and that arrest warrants had been issued because the recipients of the calls failed to report to jury duty, a news release explains. "The scammer will then ask for payment to clear up the matter, typically in the form of a 'green dot' credit card," the release continues. "Once the victim obtains the card and loads the required funds onto it, the scammer asks for the card number and the access code on the back," the release adds. With the trans- action complete, the scammer disconnects the phone number from which he called, to avoid detection. It is important for all members of the pub- lic to know that law enforcement and court employees never make requests for pay- ment over the telephone and never request personal financial information, the release emphasizes. "A similar warning was issued in December, so please share this information once again with friends, family, neighbors and organizations to which you belong," the release asks. "The callers are criminals and the only way to stop them is to be empowered to just hang up," said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. "Write down what was said, think about it and contact the agency or office the caller claimed to represent to make them aware of the call. Do not fall victim to their pressure." Variations of the jury duty scam and potential identity theft have been reported since 2005 in multiple states, including Florida, a news release from the Clerk's Office points out. The Silvertooth Judicial Center is on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota. File photo WARNING ISSUED BY SHERIFF'S OFFICE ABOUT JURY DUTY SCAM CRIME BLOTTER

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