The U.S. Marshals Service is warning the public of several telephone scams involving individuals claiming to be U.S. marshals, court officers and other law enforcement officials.
There are two nationwide telephone scams to be aware of. One involves jury duty, the other about winning a sweepstakes. In both cases, they are very convincing and try to get you to pay money in exchange for being arrested.
In one scam, the caller attempts to collect a fine for failing to report for jury duty.
In the other scam, callers are told they have won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.
Victims have been told they can avoid arrest or claim a prize by purchasing a prepaid debit card or gift card and reading that number over the phone to the scammers. To look more credible, scammers might give you a badge number or the names of actual police officers or federal judges.
Their number also could appear on your caller ID as if they called from a courthouse or government agency.
The U.S. Marshals Service does not call anyone to arrange payment of fines over the phone for failure to appear for jury duty or any other infraction.
The Marshals Service urges the public not to divulge personal or financial information to unknown callers, even if they sound legitimate. Actual court orders can be verified through the clerk of court's office at U.S. District Court.
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