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U.S. marshals don't call people about jury duty

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February 12th, 2018
Photo of an old marshal's badge in a wallet.

Photo of an old marshal's badge in a wallet.

The U.S. Marshals Service recently issued an unusual warning. Their service is being misrepresented in a nationwide imposter scam, and unsuspecting consumers are falling for it.

Scammers posing as U.S. marshals have been calling people across the county. They say the person failed to show up for jury duty and they are wanted for arrest. 

Imagine how you’d feel to hear a U.S. marshal say that. And these scammers are good. They have been known to use names and badge numbers of actual U.S. marshals. They may also manipulate the caller ID so it looks as if the call is coming from a government agency.

The scammer then offers the option of paying a fine to make the entire matter go away. He or she stipulates that the fine must be paid over the phone, and often, it needs to be paid with a prepaid gift card or wire transfer. 

U.S. marshals track down fugitives and protect federal courts. They don’t call people about jury duty and they certainly don’t call to collect fines of any kind. 

“These are not victimless crimes,” says acting U.S. Marshal Randy Breckwoldt. “People have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers.” 

‘Hang up and report the call’

“The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number, or banking routing numbers, or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose,” says Breckwoldt. “If the caller is urging you to provide this type of information or any other personal or financial information, hang up and report the call to the U.S. Marshals and the FTC [Federal Trade Commission]. You can even report to both agencies anonymously. 

“While these callers may sound legitimate, we urge people to question their validity,” he adds. “The easiest way to do this is to call the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court in your area and verify the court order. If an order does not exist, someone just tried to swindle you out of your hard-earned cash.” 

You can file a complaint with the FTC by visiting ftccomplaintassistant.gov or calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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