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Jury duty scam hits Washington

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A nationwide scam has made its way to Washington. It’s known as the jury duty scam and the criminals use scare tactics to lock up your pocketbook.

Jury duty is just something we all have to do and now con artists are cashing in on that civic responsibility.
It’s a phone scam that costs victims hundreds or thousands of dollars.

“I’ve heard that it’s been happening all over the United States,” said Sergeant Cindi West, with the King County Sheriff’s Department.

West said this all starts with a call that appears to be from a legit government agency.

“They’re actually spoofing our phone number. It looks on there like it says the KCSO. At times they’ve actually used actual names of people that work here,” explained West.

The scammers claim you missed jury duty and if you don’t want to go to jail, you’d better pay up fast.

“We would never ever call somebody at home and tell them that they have a warrant for their arrest. They need to pay something. Generally if they did have a warrant for arrest, we’d go pick them up. We wouldn’t give them advanced notice,” said West.

It’s that fear that makes this so crime so successful. And these guys are good. Just ask Sergeant West’s mom.

“Somebody called my mom. She has been my mom my whole life so she knows better than these things. But he scared her and he actually had her second guessing herself whether it was true or not,” recalled West.

Don’t worry, West called the guy back and gave him a piece of her mind. Soon after, he’d moved on with a new number and probably a new victim. That’s why police have such a hard time stopping this.

“You’ve got these phones that people pick up in probably a 7-11, they pay $50, have so many minutes, they’ll use it until it runs down and then they’ll change the number. How do you track that?” asked West.

Don’t EVER give money or financial information to someone over the phone. But really, if these guys call – just hang up. If you’ve fallen victim, file a police report and contact the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission.

 

Do you have a story you want me to check out? Call 1-844-77-JESSE (53773) or send me a message here. I’ll be part of KIRO 7 Eyewitness News most weekdays at 5:15 p.m. You can also check out my Facebook page and click here to follow me on Twitter.

 

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