MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The letter looks official, complete with the United States Seal and the correct address of the Frank M. Johnson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama. But, it's part of an ongoing federal jury scam.
"Over the last five or six years, we've seen it come and go," said U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin of the jury scam.
The U.S. Marshals Service confirms the scam is cropping back up. In this wave, callers are disguised as federal law enforcement officers, threatening victims with criminal action for missing jury duty.
A victim who spoke to WSFA 12 News received a call from a man, posing as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. He told the victim a warrant was out for her arrest, but she could handle it by paying $500, plus court costs over the phone. When she demanded more information, the victim was sent an email with the jury summons and was given the number to a bankruptcy judge, whose clerk said she had received upwards of 15 calls recently with the same storyline.
To date, around half a dozen people in Alabama's Middle District have fallen victim to this federal jury duty scam.
U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin explained federal jury summons are sent through the United States Postal Service. While Franklin asks all citizens to be vigilant and guard against this scam, he doesn't want fear to stand in the way of fulfilling their civic duty.
"It's really a big deal, if you get a summons you ought to show up," Franklin said. "Before you get the summons, you will get an application asking for information about you to put you on the jury wheel."
Franklin stated in some instances you will be given the option to send those responses through email but gives assurances your information will be protected.
"You should feel comfortable giving your information to the United States District Court," explained Franklin.
No fines will ever be assessed for missing jury duty. If you have fallen victim to this scam, call the U.S. Marshals Service at 334-223-3094.