General Crime

Police Warn of Jury Duty Phone Scam

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Marin Police Authority is warning the public about a phone scam in which a scammer impersonates a law enforcement officer and threatens a resident with arrest for not appearing for jury duty unless the resident pays a fee. Last Thursday, a resident got a message from someone identified as Lt. Shane Williams with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, police said.

When the victim returned the call, the man who answered told him he had a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear for jury duty, police said. The scammer convinced the victim to drive to a 7-Eleven and purchase $1,500 in reloadable debit cards, police said. The scammer then had the victim scrape the cards and provide their identifying numbers, according to police. The scammer spoke forcefully to the victim and insisted the victim stay on the phone during the entire journey to purchase the cards.

He appeared to have law enforcement knowledge and made convincing threats of arrest, police said. Similar phone scams that have popped up elsewhere in the Bay Area include those that tell victims they have won sweepstakes or lotteries, jury duty scams and scammers who tell the victims they owe the Internal Revenue Service large sums of money. Law enforcement agencies would never ask for money over the phone to settle an arrest warrant, according to police.

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