Security Alert: The "Jury Duty Scam"
This information was provided to First Command Bank in a VisaŽ U.S.A. Inc. Data Security Brief on July 24, 2007.
Jury Duty Scam - A Lesson in Identity Theft
Consumers are advised to be on alert for a new identity theft exploit known as the "Jury Duty Scam." In this scam:
- A fraudster posing as a local court official telephones you, claiming that because you have failed to report for jury duty, a warrant has been issued for your arrest
- To "clear things up," or "for verification purposes," the fraudster asks for confidential personal information such as a Social Security number or birth date
- As payment for alleged fines, the fraudster may also ask for financial account information such as a credit card number or bank account details
Consumers are urged not to provide any personal or financial account information over the phone.
Fraudsters are very skilled in gaining the trust of their victims, and in this scam, the fraudster is attempting to commit identity theft by appealing to the victim's sense of social conscience and fear of prosecution. This type of manipulation or "social engineering," when conducted by e-mail, is known as "phishing." Similar fraud schemes conducted over the telephone, such as the "Jury Duty Scam," are known as "vishing" - voice-phishing.
How to avoid online scams
First Command Bank, Visa, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Snopes.com (a hoax-refutation web site) all advise consumers to never give out confidential personal information or financial account information when receiving unsolicited phone calls or e-mails. Additionally, they note that court personnel will never ask for such information over the phone, and that courts typically communicate only via traditional mail.
To protect against identity theft, consumers are advised to take these precautions:
- Always verify the legitimacy of a caller by asking for official company or agency contact information and using directory assistance to verify and cross-reference the information given.
- Never rely solely on the phone number the caller provides as verification of the legitimacy of the call. Scam artists often have accomplices answer the phone to appear legitimate in the event of a return call.
- Never respond directly to unsolicited e-mail messages or follow links to web sites provided therein. Close the message and open a new Web browser window to go to the official company or agency web site to verify the authenticity of the e-mail.
- No matter how official the caller sounds or the e-mail message appears, legitimate businesses and government agencies will not ask for confidential personal information or financial account information in their correspondence.
For tips on identity theft prevention, visit these First Command Bank links:
For additional tips, visit these external links:
- Identity Theft: How to Prevent It
- The Verdict: Hang Up - Don't Fall for Jury Duty Scam
- Jury Rigged
- How Not to Get Hooked by a "Phishing" Scam