Several county residents have already received prank phone messages indicating they have failed to report for jury duty and will be fined $500 and serve a 30-day jail sentence for failing to appear, Baker said.
“We have received frantic phone calls from residents concerned about what is going to happen to them,” Baker said. “Citizens are nervous that they could get arrested. It is happening all over the state. If they listen to the entire message they will find out it is a prank.”
Victims are contacted via text message and/or email and are told to call a phone number to receive a message.
The phone numbers are advertised as the “Jury Duty Prank Line” on the website www.humorhot lines.com, Baker said.
Baker is urging citizens not to call these numbers and fall victim to this prank.
“These prank phone messages are creating anxiety for Cherokee County residents and creating extra work for court officials who have received phone calls from citizens who have fallen victim to these prank phone messages,” she said.
The message received by the caller sounds very convincing and if the caller does not listen to the entire message, they will not be given the information that it is meant to be a joke, Baker stressed.
In the past, several telephone scams have been conducted using jury duty as a guise to obtain personal information.
Baker cautions citizens “Jury Management staff will never contact citizens by phone or email and ask for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information. Do not give out such information over the phone or by email to anyone who contacts you claiming to be with law enforcement or the judicial system. Please report any such calls or emails received to law enforcement. “
Those who have been a victim of this or a similar scam and have shared Social Security number information can report it to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 and all three major credit bureaus, she said.
Authorities are investigating the incidents, Baker said.