Monday, January 10, 2011

Jury Scam Calls Asked for Personal Information

Citizens of Allegheny County began calling the County Courthouse last week voicing concern after receiving calls from people who claimed they were following up those who failed to show for jury duty. The callers asked for personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers and bank data. It is suspected the callers intended to use that information to steal the identities and access the banks accounts of those called.

Allegheny County Court Administrator Ray Billotte says he doesn't know how many people received these scam calls, but the court was alerted when citizens called in wondering if these messages were legitimate.

"The court's jury offices received approximately three phone calls from prospective jurors, regarding this potential scam, asking why or was it proper for this office to be asking for specific information," Billotte says.

According to Billotte, jury notice will never be given to citizens in any form other than United States mail.

"It's never by phone we only use the United States mail. We issue a summons, the President Judge and myself, to prospective jurors giving them the date, time and information as to when they are to appear," Billotte says.

"I caution all of our citizens, anytime anyone calls you asking for specific personal information, particularly if they are portraying themselves as an agent of the court, they should immediately stop the phone call and contact their local law enforcement office as well as their jury management office," Billotte says.

The Allegheny County Jury Management Office's telephone number is 412-350-5336. Police have not named or arrested any suspects.

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