The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints from Bergen County residents with regards to a jury duty phone scam. The individuals perpetrating this fraud, claim to be members of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and accuse residents that they have missed jury duty and that there is a warrant for their arrest. The individuals posing as Sheriff’s Office employees tell residents that in lieu of being arrested, they must provide a credit card number and/or prepaid debit card to pay a fine. Once the fine is paid, the warrant (which is fictitious) will be lifted. For example, on one occasion last week, the caller instructed the victim to transfer money using prepaid debit cards such as Green Dot Money-Pak to wire the money.
The individuals whom are committing this fraud are utilizing pre-paid cell phones with a “201” area code designation to appear as if they are from the Bergen County area. This juror fraud is not isolated to Bergen County. It has occurred in neighboring counties as well as other states.
“If a government agency is to contact you via phone, it will be done utilizing a bona fide publicized government phone number” said Sheriff Michael Saudino. “All notices regarding jury duty come through the mail, including summonses to report for jury duty, and failure to report for jury duty. These notices are mailed directly from the New Jersey Judiciary Jury Management Office and give you specific information on who to contact, and how to comply with the summons.”
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and local police departments are aware of this matter and are currently investigating it. Sheriff Saudino advises Bergen County residents that “You should not give out any personal information or identification over the phone, and are advised not transfer any money using prepaid debit cards on behalf of a government agency. If you are being asked for your personal information from an unsolicited phone number, hang up immediately and notify your local authorities.”
“No Government agency will tell you to make payments to them through a bank or wire transfer. It is incumbent on all residents to be alert and it does not hurt to take the time to verify these incidents with us,” says Sheriff Saudino.
Anyone who believes they may also have been exposed to this or a similar type fraud is asked to contact either the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office at 201-646-2222, www.bergentip.com, or your local police department.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding jury duty, please refer to the Bergen County Superior Court Jury Management Office at www.judiciary.state.nj.us/juryreporting/bergen, or contact the jury office at 201-527-2290.