Scammers lie about jury duty in Pinellas

Pinellas County, Florida -- A scam is going around Pinellas County where people are informed that they must pay money for missing jury duty or face serious consequences.

Court officials say a woman in Largo got a phone call and the person on the other end said, "You missed jury duty - pay up with a credit card or go to jail."

Judge McGrady said, "It is irritating and frustrating, particularly this situation when it is juror appreciation week. We want the message out - don't buy into this."

He adds that court officials would never call and demand money. "For someone to be taken advantage of in the name of the court system is just wrong. "

He says it's a crime punishable by the court of law and it could even be a felony. This particular scam hits close to home as the alleged scammers used a real judge's name to add credibility.

"Judge Freeman - his court is probation court - they don't have a jury. It's playing off of fears and I'm sure going through her mind was, 'I don't remember receiving a summons.'"

Court officials say on a real summons look for the county seal, a juror number and most importantly a phone number. "Anything that could come from the clerk for jury duty would have a phone number to call. Call and find out if it is legit, did I miss something? We would know if you did."

Court officials say if you miss the first summons they will send a second. If you miss the second they will send you a courtesy postcard. After that you could be subject to a fine, but that would not happen without a court hearing.


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