There have been a large volume of fraudulent calls that are allegedly coming from the Sheriff’s Department saying there is a warrant out for your arrest for not showing up for Jury Duty. Another tactic is that they say they are a sheriff’s deputy working in association with the Social Security Office, or they are calling about nonpayment of back taxes. These are all SCAMs!
The Sheriff's Office does not solicit for funds over the phone under any circumstances!
Criminals are now able to use false or “spoofed” numbers to make it appear that the call is coming from a Sheriff’s Office phone number, or from the Courts. The criminals will use names of officers currently employed by KCSO, or they will give you a false name.
If someone contacts you and tells you there’s a warrant out for your arrest because you missed jury duty or that you owe back taxes, please know that this is a scam! Discontinue the call and contact the King County Sheriff’s Office if you have any questions about the legitimacy of such a call. Government offices rarely call citizens to conduct business over the phone and will never demand or solicit any funds over the phone through cash cards.
The caller says that they are from the King County Sheriff’s Department (or from the Courts of King County) stating that because you missed jury duty there is a warrant for their arrest. Callers have also been known to say that they’re a Sheriff’s Deputy that has been working with the IRS or Social Security Office. They state that they are halting your social security payments until you verify personal information. This is a scam! These criminals are very professional sounding and may already have some personal details that trick you into believing them because they have information about you. Information such as your address and telephone number can be commonly found in general applications, resumes or other paperwork that criminals have gained access to. They will tell you to pay hundreds of dollars to avoid being arrested. They will use high pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency and get you panicked by the way they talk to you. Then, once they get you to agree to pay the money, they tell you to purchase a cash card (or have a card reloaded) from one of the well-known retail stores (Walmart, Target, etc.). The caller will have you call them back with the special pin number on the card (or keep you on the phone during the entire transaction while you purchase the card). Once they have the pin number, within seconds these funds have been transferred into their account and your money is gone.
They will then tell you to go to the King County Courthouse and sign up for jury duty and that King County will reimburse you with a cashier’s check for the amount you paid them. Again, this is a scam and the County will not reimburse you.
If you are a victim of this scam:
The King County Sheriff's Office has provided information about these calls to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and they are working with the Washington State Patrol (WSP). They are gathering cases to review for information/similarities on the Jury Scam topic. If you have been a victim of this scam, they have set up an email address you can email and report to them with as much information as you can. It is firstname.lastname@example.org. They also have a tip line you can call - 425-401-7741.
You may also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission at http://www.fcc.gov/complaints.
If you received a false call and actually sent/confirmed funds and wish to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission you can do so at http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/Information#crnt&panel1-1
For more information on the topic:
King County District Courts Link: https://www.kingcounty.gov/courts/district-court/about/jury.aspx
Snopes Link: http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/juryduty.asp
If you are a victim of a scam:
The Federal Trade Commission has launched a new website designed to make it easier for people to report potential frauds to federal authorities and get quick advice on what to do. The new website at ReportFraud.ftc.gov has a feature that prompts those reporting a fraud to the "next steps" that will offer specific guidance based on the kind of scam reported.