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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

July 3, 2008

Beware of "jury duty" scam

ISU department of public safety officials warn members of the campus community about another telephone scam that is an attempt to get individual names and Social Security numbers. With that information, the scammers can steal identities, run up credit card bills and empty bank accounts.

Here's how this scam typically works:

The caller identifies himself as a court officer. He says you failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant is out for your arrest. You say you never received a notice of jury duty. To clear it up and cancel the arrest warrant, the caller says he'll need some information -- your birth date and Social Security number -- for verification purposes.

This is when you need to hang up, said Rob Bowers, deputy chief of police and associate director of the department of public safety. Never give out personal information when you receive an unsolicited phone call.

The jury duty scam has been reported in 12 states over the last two years. Bowers said it has reached Iowa and appears to be spreading quickly. He said an officer in the department recently received one of these calls at his home.

The FBI has issued an alert on its Web site and recommends that people who receive such a call report it to the nearest FBI field office (in this case, Omaha).


Phone scammers are trying a new way to get your Social Security number from you: By claiming you failed to show for jury duty and are at risk of being arrested.