The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has issued a warning regarding a new email scam that requests personal information under the guise of a federal jury summons.
In a public alert issued this week, the Administrative Office noted that this latest juror scam has so far been reported in at least 14 federal court districts around the country.
How does this new scam work, and how can you tell the difference between a scam and an actual federal jury summons?
eJuror Email Scam
According to the public alert, the email scam purports to be affiliated with eJuror, an online juror registration program used in about 80 U.S. court districts.
The email claims that the individual contacted had been selected for jury duty. It also provides a form that asks recipients to disclose sensitive personal information such as their Social Security number, driver's license number, birth date, mother's maiden name, and cell phone number.
The email also threatens fines and even possible jail time for anyone who fails to complete the form.
This latest scam follows a similar scam earlier this year in which citizens received phone calls asking for personal information for the purposes of jury service, and threatened with prosecution for failure to comply.
So how can you tell if you've received real correspondence from a federal court regarding jury service?
A Real Federal Jury Summons Won't Arrive by Email
According to the Administrative Office, any requests for personal information relating to jury service, even in districts which utilize eJuror, will be in the form of formal written correspondence.
"Such letters tell jury participants how to access an authenticated, secure online connection," the Office's alert explains. "eJuror never requests that personal identification information be sent directly in an email response."
Although prospective jurors may occasionally be contacted by telephone, the Office says that personal information will never be requested over the phone and warns that impersonating a federal court official is a crime.
The Administrative Office suggests anyone who has been subject to a juror scam should notify the Clerk of Court's office of the U.S. District Court in their area, which can be found using this court locator.
- U.S. courts warn of email juror scam (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Virus Alert: Beware Email Scam About Fake Court Cases (FindLaw's Eighth Circuit Blog)
- Legal How-To: Claiming a Hardship for Jury Duty (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Missing Jury Duty: What Happens? (FindLaw's Blotter)