Sheriff’s Office cautions residents about callers peddling fake jury scam

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard has three words of advice for residents who have received phone calls threatening their arrest because they supposedly didn’t show up for jury service. Don’t believe it.
In the past three weeks, at least a dozen area residents have been contacted by callers posing as Sheriff’s Office personnel. All the calls were made by scammers and not by legitimate law enforcement or court officials. The most recent complaint was filed on May 26.
Although none of victim complaints have come from the north Oakland County communities of Addison, Brandon, Independence, Orion or Oxford, Lt. Scott Patterson, Oxford substation commander, said local residents should still be aware.
Bouchard said, “If anyone calls and demands money over the phone, it is a scam. Just hang up. Sadly, we’re seeing an uptick in how many people are being hit with these phony phone calls. We will never demand immediate payment over the phone. Ever. Just hang up.”
In each instance the phony law enforcement person makes the bogus claim that there is an arrest warrant out because you didn’t appear for jury duty in either federal or state court. The only way to set the warrant aside is to pay a $900 cash bond – in either bitcoin or gift cards. The caller often uses the actual name of a person who is a deputy or commander in the Sheriff’s Office. A phone number is provided which purports to connect the caller to the Sheriff’s Office. A recorded message states the caller has reached the Sheriff’s Office and all personnel are busy on other calls. The caller is asked to leave a callback number. The victim is contacted by the scammer who gives specific instructions as to how to make the necessary transaction, including providing an account number for the bitcoin deposit or the registration numbers for the gift cards.
According to a release from the Sherrif’s office, at least two of the victims did pay the $900. Earlier victims were told they must pay as much as $5,000 to avoid arrest. Representatives from both the U.S. District Court – Eastern Michigan District in Detroit and Oakland County Circuit Court said delinquent jurors would be contacted by mail, never by phone. The Sheriff’s Office and the courts do not accept bitcoin or gift cards for cash bonds.

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