The United States Marshals Service (USMS) issued a press release on Oct. 22 with details surrounding a jury duty scam and said the agency wants to protect Utah citizens from becoming victims.
Several people in Utah have received phone calls from unknown individuals claiming to be U.S. Marshals, or other law enforcement officers, the press release stated.
Similar to a scam described by Moab Sun News reader Dana Witwicki in a letter to the editor on Oct. 4 (“Jury duty scam revealed”), the caller tells the victim that he or she failed to appear for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for their arrest.
The victim is instructed that they must pay the “bail” or a deputy will arrest them. The callers are “very convincing and intimidating and prey on victim fears,” the U.S. Marshals Service said.
In order to pay the “bail” the victim is instructed to go to their bank and withdraw a sum of money,
ranging from $300 to $3,000.
The victim is then instructed to go to a food or drug store, purchase a prepaid debit card, and provide the card information to the caller.
The U.S. Marshals said the victims who are targeted by the scam “are generally older adults and afraid they are going to be arrested.”
The caller usually makes them stay on the phone the entire time. They are told if they hang up, it will be considered obstruction of justice and that additional charges will be filed.
The U.S. Marshals are asking store employees to please help protect and identify any customers who
purchase a prepaid debit card that appear to be a victim of this scam, under duress, or on a cell phone
while doing so.
The U.S. Marshals offer the following advice:
“Please ask them, ‘Did a police officer tell you to buy this card?’ If they say, ‘Yes,’ please tell them that no law enforcement officer will ever instruct anyone to purchase a prepaid debit card. (Feel free to show them this press release if they are unconvinced.) Please instruct anyone identified in these circumstances that the call is a scam. Also advise them not to provide any additional personal information to the caller. The customer can contact the local police or our office to confirm that the call was a scam.”
Store employees asked to be aware of potential victims