I got this in my email the other day. Now, having been burnt like this once before, this time I checked it out on snopes.com, and sure enough, this one is valid. I hope others find this useful.
Now, I’m kinda new to this, so if it turns out that everyone and their brother has gotten this in their email, please let me know and I’ll just clobber it and won’t post stuff like this anymore. But otherwise I hope it may save someone some unnecessary grief.
Here it is:
This helpful heads-up began appearing in inboxes in August 2005. While this particular attempt to coerce information from potential identity theft victims is not new, it is real. In a number of U.S. states, con artists have been contacting people by phone to assert those they’ve targeted have evaded jury duty and announce warrants are being issued for their arrest. When the about-to-be-duped protest they never received such notifications, that surely a mistake has been made, the sharpies go after what they really want, which is their pigeons’ personal and financial information. Under threat of being hauled off in paddy wagons unless they succeed in straightening out this terrible mess, many folks who would otherwise be more wary about what they reveal of their personal data will find themselves reeling off their birth dates and social security and credit card numbers in an effort to convince their callers the notifications that never arrived actually went to other addresses or were never meant for them in the first
However these calls conclude — whether those who have been approached are left with the impression they’ve failed to show up for jury duty and are still expected to discharge their civic duties, or that a big misunderstanding has now been resolved — their true purpose has been accomplished: the scam artists now have the information necessary to open accounts or charge goods in the names of their victims.
The scheme outlined in the message quoted above might be categorized as a “social engineering” scam — a technique which preys upon people’s unquestioning acceptance of authority and willingness to cooperate in order to extract from them sensitive information.
How to Avoid Falling Victim to ‘Jury Duty’ Scams:
* Court workers will not telephone to say you’ve missed jury duty or that they are assembling juries and need to pre-screen those who might be selected to serve on them, so dismiss as fraudulent phones call of this nature. About the only time you would hear by telephone (rather than by mail) about anything having to do with jury service would be after you have mailed back your completed questionnaire, and even then only rarely.
* Do not give out bank account, social security, or credit card numbers over the phone if you didn’t initiate the call, whether it be to someone trying to sell you something or to someone who claims to be from a bank or government department. If such callers insist upon “verifying” such information with you, have them read the data to you from their notes, with you saying yea or nay to it rather than the other way around.
* Examine your credit card and bank account statements every month, keeping an eye peeled for unauthorized charges. Immediately challenge items you did not approve.