NORFOLK — Police Chief Charles Stone and the Norfolk Police Department wish to warn community members about a recent jury duty scam and other common scams.
Earlier this month, Norfolk Police received a report from a resident that a person had called and claimed that they were a Sheriff. The caller told the resident that they would be arrested for failing to report to Federal Jury Duty unless they paid a fine. The caller demanded gift cards in restitution from the resident or stated that an arrest warrant would be filed. The individual lost $3,400 before realizing the call was a scam.
Chief Stone would like to make residents aware that members of the public will not be contacted initially by email or phone for jury service and that restitution will never be demanded for failure to appear for jury duty. If you don’t respond to your jury summons and miss your jury duty date, you will be considered a delinquent juror and the Office of Jury Commissioner (OJC) will first send a Failure to Appear Notice in the mail, then a Notice of Delinquency by mail before taking further action.
Anyone who has questions regarding jury duty should contact the OJC at 800-843-5879. Residents can also respond to a summons or check their status here.
“Scammers often target vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly, to exploit them through the purchase of pre-paid gift cards or wire transfers,” Chief Stone said. “Once pre-paid gift cards or wire transfers are sent, it’s extremely hard to recover that money once you realize you’ve fallen victim to a scam. In an effort to prevent those situations from happening, we would like to make residents aware of common scams.”
Common scams that target residents – specifically senior citizens – include:
- Social Security Scams: Scammers pretend to be from the U.S. Social Security Administration and try to get your Social Security Number or money.
- IRS Scams: Scammers call, pretending to be from the IRS, and say they’re filing a lawsuit against your back taxes.
- Phishing Scams: Scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information.
- Fake Check Scams: Scammers ask you to deposit a check for more than you are owed and send some of the money to another person.
- Utility Scams: Scammers pose as bill collectors from utility companies and threaten to shut off service if you do not pay.
- Sweepstakes: Someone calls to notify you that you have won a contest or sweepstakes and must send money to collect any winnings.
Often, the scammer will demand payment via electronic money order or pre-paid debit card. This should be an immediate red flag. No legitimate vendor will ever demand money via these means.
As a reminder, residents should NEVER give personal information, social security numbers, money or credit card numbers to people they don’t know.
If you are ever unsure about a potential scam, or if you believe you are a victim of a scam, contact the Norfolk Police Department at 508-528-3206.
For more information about scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website or the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation website.