Identity Theft -- The Jury Duty Scam

I received an email today that warned of an identity theft scam involving calls made under the pretense of notifying individuals that they have been called for jury duty or have not appropriately responded to jury duty notifications.

As is my normal practice, I checked out the email to determine whether it was legitimate or a hoax. I found a press release from the FBI dated August 19, 2005, that warns about this particular scam. The press release follows:

Washington, D.C. - The FBI today is providing a warning to the public against an ongoing scheme involving jury service. The public needs to be aware that individuals identifying themselves as U.S. court employees have been telephonically contacting citizens and advising them that they have been selected for jury duty. These individuals ask to verify names and Social Security numbers, then ask for credit card numbers. If the request is refused, citizens are then threatened with fines.

The judicial system does not contact people telephonically and ask for personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth or credit card numbers. If you receive one of these phone calls, do not provide any personal or confidential information to these individuals. This is an attempt to steal or to use your identity by obtaining your name, Social Security number and potentially to apply for credit or credit cards or other loans in your name. It is an attempt to defraud you.

If you have already been contacted and have already given out your personal information, please monitor your account statements and credit reports, and contact your local FBI office. Local FBI field office telephone numbers can be found in the front of your local telephone directory or on www.fbi.gov. For further information, please review the warnings posted on the U.S. Courts website at www.uscourts.gov, "Newsroom" news article "WARNING: Bogus Phone Calls on Jury Service May lead to Fraud,"