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Dauphin County sheriff says jury duty calls are scams; don't give out personal information

Posted 2/13/19

The Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office once again is warning about a phone scam targeting residents.

In a recent case, the victim lost $2,000, Sheriff Nicholas Chimienti Jr. said.

Chimienti …

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Dauphin County sheriff says jury duty calls are scams; don't give out personal information

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Posted

The Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office once again is warning about a phone scam targeting residents.

In a recent case, the victim lost $2,000, Sheriff Nicholas Chimienti Jr. said.

Chimienti said his staff has received numerous complaints over the past few days about scammers claiming to be from the sheriff’s office. The scammers indicate to the victim they are in contempt of court for failure to show up for jury duty at the Dauphin County Courthouse on Market Street. Scammers indicate that a judge has issued an arrest warrant for the victim, who will be taken directly to prison. Scammers are using real names of employees who work at the courthouse.

Scammers initially tell victims they must report to the courthouse with $1,500 cash or be detained. The scammer then requests the victim to purchase prepaid Visa cards or Money-Pak cards in $500 increments at local pharmacies, businesses or grocery stores.

The scammer then tells victims they must stay on the telephone the entire time while the victim drives to a local store or pharmacy to purchase the money cards.

The scammers are very convincing and intimidating as this is all part of the scam, and then they talk the victim into revealing the redemption code on the back of the card and retrieve the money instantly, Chimienti said.

The sheriff’s office also is warning local retailers and clerks of grocery stores and pharmacies that anyone trying to purchase these cards in $500 increments while the victim is on the phone should be aware and notify the victim as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know receives a threatening call from someone claiming to be from the sheriff’s office, do not share sensitive information and report the call instead, Chimienti said.

The sheriff’s office does not require anyone to provide sensitive information by telephone, nor require the purchase of any kind of monetary device to avoid arrest.

The scammers use a spoofing website to show that the phone call is originating from the sheriff’s office on the victim’s caller ID, leading a victim to believe it is legitimate, Chimienti said.

It’s a very deceptive scam and hard to trace, he added.

Anyone who has been a victim of this scam should try to document as much information as possible, such as a name, call-back number or email address, without giving away their personal information, Chimienti said. Victims should save receipts for the purchase of the cards.

The worst part of this type of scam is many people will not report it because it is embarrassing, Chimienti said.

People receiving a suspicious call or phone message and victims should file a complaint regarding these scams by calling their local police or the attorney general’s Bureau of Consumer Protection’s toll-free helpline number at 800-441-2555.