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Jury duty phone scam creeps into Screven market

A new telephone call scam tactic has hit Screven County, using missed jury duty subpoenas as a reason to levy a fine which can be remedied by an over-the-phone payment or visiting the “clerk of courts office” and paying there.
Screven County Clerk of Court Janis Reddick said she’s had several people come into the clerk’s office trying to validate a missed jury duty and to pay their fine. But the Screven County clerk’s office does not use telephones to reach jurors, they send out mail or a deputy with the jury duty notification – never a phone call.
Skipping real jury duty can have a penalty, but it’s not likely a fine, Reddick said.
“The most that they’ll do is have to sit through a jury trial unpaid,” she said. “There needs to be some form of punishment because it’s not fair for those that do show up. (Those who miss jury duty) may have to explain to the judge why they missed, but we would never, never take money for that.”
Reddick said she has heard of a similar scam tactic from other Georgia clerk of court offices. The reported caller identified himself as “John from the Clerk of Courts” and there is not an employee at the office that is named John.
The Screven County Sheriff’s Office has issued a public notice on Facebook about the suspicious telephone calls and is actively investigating the source of the calls.
Investigator Brett Dickerson said the jury duty fine tactic is new to Screven County but has heard of impersonators saying they were cops or other types of officials to get payment or personal information.
So far Screven Countians have been vigilant and reported the calls, and even stopped by the clerk’s office to verify they did not miss jury duty.
Scammers are often from outside the United States, Dickerson said. The caller may speak English but might be missing the Southern Drawl the county has. Other things to listen for are lowering the fine if the individual pays over the phone and attempting to obtain any other personal information.
The sheriff’s office asks anyone who may have information on the case or those who might have been scammed call their dispatch at 912-564-2013.