It's a new year and the Pima County Sheriff's Department is warning about another phone scam with a new twist. It involves calls threatening arrests and more if people don't show up to jury duty.
According to Deputy Cody Gress with the Pima County Sheriff's Department, the scam runs similarly as it has in previous years, however this time it appears to be more credible. It is coinciding with people being released from jury duty or having just gone.
Here's how it works:
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The scammers pose as Pima County Sheriff's officials, calls the victim and tells them they've failed to appear for jury duty and that a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The scammer then relents and says if the victim agrees to pay a fine, he or she will not be released.
The fine is requested to be paid with a prepaid gift card, mainly an iTunes card.
The scam is prevalent especially this time of gear, Gress explained. Since we are just coming out of the holidays, people have received some money and cards as gifts and scammers are trying to take advantage. Unfortunately, it is primarily affecting the elderly in a Pima County and there is not really much protection. "There's not those fall back options for these people unfortunately, when they become victims of this they are kind out of luck because they willingly handed over their money," Gress said.
The callers can sound convincing and aggressive, but It's important to remember that the gift card part of it should automatically tip you off of that something "fishy" is going on, Gress said. "No law enforcement agency, is going to ask you to pay them with cash gift cards or whatever over the phone to get you released from a warrant, that's just not how the justice system works," he added.
County officials insist that the method for contacting citizens for jury duty is through the mail, there is not actual "phone call" for duty.