Beware of Scammers Posing as US Marshals and Government Officials, Threatening Arrest for Jury Duty Absence

Tampa, Florida – Authorities in the United States District Court have issued a warning about a growing scam in which fraudsters pose as U.S. marshals and government officials. These individuals are using fear tactics to intimidate victims into paying fines for alleged failure to appear for jury duty. The Middle District of Florida has seen a surge in reports of victims falling prey to these scams.

These scammers are using convincing methods to deceive their targets. They provide personal information about the victims, real names of federal judges, authentic court addresses, and even spoofed phone numbers that appear to be from official government agencies. The scammers demand immediate payment of fines to avoid arrest and guide victims through purchasing prepaid debit or gift cards, or making electronic payments.

Chief Judge Timothy Corrigan has emphasized that these calls are fraudulent and warns individuals not to provide their financial information to anyone claiming to be a judge or court official. Instead, residents who believe they have been targeted are encouraged to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission and their local FBI Field Office.

To prevent falling victim to this scam, the U.S. District Court has provided key facts. They remind citizens that the court only communicates jury summons through U.S. Mail and does not request credit/debit card numbers or demand payment over the phone. If a prospective juror disregards a summons, they will receive written communication from the District Court Clerk’s Office. Additionally, fines are never imposed until after an individual appears in court and has the opportunity to explain their absence.

It is important for citizens to verify the authenticity of any calls they receive regarding jury duty. They are advised to contact the clerk’s office of the U.S. District Court directly for verification. More information can be found on the court’s website.

Scams involving fake U.S. marshals and government officials are on the rise, with victims being targeted and coerced into paying fines for alleged failure to appear for jury duty. The scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods, using personal information and spoofed phone numbers to deceive their victims. Chief Judge Timothy Corrigan has emphasized the fraudulent nature of these calls and urges individuals not to provide any financial information. The U.S. District Court reminds citizens of key preventive measures, including the fact that jury summons are only sent by mail and no payment should ever be made over the phone. In case of any doubts, individuals are encouraged to contact the clerk’s office of the U.S. District Court for verification.