The U.S. Marshals Service is warning South Carolina residents that scammers are making calls insisting that the person who answers the phone pay a fine because they missed federal jury duty.
The Marshals in the District of South Carolina have received reports of suspicious calls from scammers claiming to be U.S. Marshals. The caller claims the citizen failed to report for federal jury duty and has to pay a fine ranging from $300 to $3,000. The citizen is told the fine must be paid in pre-paid credit cards such as Green Dot/MoneyPak cards. The caller will either ask the card be delivered to a “runner” at a federal courthouse or ask for the account number on the card.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Amanda Lyons says the calls may appear to be legitimate. They may give badge numbers or correct addresses for federal courthouses, U.S. Marshals offices or the names of federal judges
“They give you your home address. They give you your phone number. They may say, ‘I know your neighbors are the Johnsons or the Smiths,’ or ‘You live at 123 Main Street’ and they sound legitimate but they are not legitimate U.S. Marshals,” she said.
Lyons said her office does demand fines be paid over the phone. Instead, those who skip jury duty are usually served with paperwork in person.
“If the U.S. Marshals want you, we are coming to knock on your door,” she said.
Lyons said, if you know someone who is elderly or vulnerable, warn them not to fall for this scam.
“The moment you purchase this card, the moment you give them the number on the back of that card or present the card to a runner (person designated to deliver the card to), the money is legitimately gone,” she said. “Before you do any of this, please call your local law enforcement, your local Marshals Service or your local FBI.”
Lyons said never give out personal financial information over the phone. Click here for a link to report a call if you receive one.