JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Marshals Service wants to warn people about several nationwide phone scams involving crooks who claim to be marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials.
In one scam, the caller will attempt to collect a fine, saying the victim has failed to report for jury duty. The victim is then told that he or she can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit or gift card, and reading the number on the card to the caller over the phone.
To appear credible, the scammers might provide badge numbers, courthouse addresses or names of actual law enforcement officers. They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.
But federal marshals want people to know that they will never seek payment over the phone for anyone who misses jury duty. They also won’t ask you to purchase a prepaid card for any purpose.
Additionally, U.S. Marshals will never ask for your credit card number, wire transfers or bank routing numbers.
In another scam, victims are told they have won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes and are directed to pay a fee in order to claim the prize.
The Marshals Service urges people not to divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers, even if they sound legitimate.
Actual court orders can be verified through the clerk of court's office of the U.S. District Court in your area.
If you receive one of these phone calls, hang up and contact the nearest office of the U.S. Marshals Service.