You are here

ALERT: Jury and Court Scams

Thursday, March 28, 2024

 

Warrant for Arrest 

  • Neither the United States Marshals Service nor the United States District Court, will ever call to request payment of fines over the telephone. If you are contacted by someone who says there is a warrant for your arrest related to missed federal jury duty, subpoena or other offenses, do not make any payments to them. Instead, please review the instructions below in the Resources section.

Methods and Tactics of the Fraud

  • The caller may use a variety of tactics to sound credible.  They may instruct you to mail the prepaid cards to a specific judge or to report to your local courthouse with the prepaid debit cards.  They may provide information like badge numbers, case numbers, names of actual law enforcement officials, public servants, and federal judges.  They may also spoof their phone numbers to appear on Caller ID as if they are calling from a courthouse or a government agency like the U.S. Marshals Service.
  • The caller may identify themselves as an officer with local law enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service or federal judge. They may instruct you to wire money or purchase prepaid debit cards, such as a Green Dot card or gift cards, and ask you to read the card numbers over the phone to pay your fines in order to avoid arrest. They may also instruct you to make a payment at a Bitcoin ATM by depositing cash, using your debit or credit card, or scanning a QR code at the ATM.
  • A more recent tactic employed by fraudulent callers involves targeting medical professionals stating that they have missed a subpoena to testify in a trial. The callers direct the target to bring their passport and cash to a location purportedly affiliated with the Court or Sheriff's Office in order to avoid loss of medical license, or jail time.

Reporting the calls:  

  • Please report the call to your local FBI office and file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The FTC has the ability to detect larger patterns of fraud and share that data with law enforcement.

Resources

  • You can get help determining the authenticity of a call by contacting the Seattle Clerk's Office at 206-370-8400 or Tacoma Clerk's Office at 253-882-3800.
  • More information about this type of fraudulent activity can be found on the U.S. Courts national site and in the press release from the U.S. Marshals Service.
  • See KOMO News, a local Seattle news outlet, coverage of this scam here.
  • Please also see the Joint News Release put out by the FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. District Court, U.S. Marshal's Service, the IRS, and the Yakima Police Department.