Rigo Reyes has seen a lot of scams in his time, this one's one of the most outrageous. As chief investigator for the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs, Reyes is calling this the '' jury scam''.
Apparently what's been happening is that people call up, pretending to be with the Sheriff's Department, telling those who answer they have a warrant for their arrest for failing to appear for jury duty, and demanding immediate payment of the ''fine''. The callers are smooth, forceful, and believable, and apparently intimidate people into giving up their checking account number, into sending a wire transfer, a money order, and even a gift card.
They often pray on immigrants who many not be as familiar with how the system works as some. But Reyes said ignore it all. "Anytime they tell you to send something right away, that there's no time left, you know to slow down, discuss it with somebody else make sure you're not getting scammed." It's tough to say how common this scam is, but it's happened enough so that the Sheriff's Dept. put out a warning and recommended that people call the Consumer Affairs hotline to complain if they 've been contacted by one of these bogus callers, that phone number is 800-593-8222 and the website, which has a lot of useful information.
Reyes says he's heard about this jury scam in the O.C. too. It sounds hard to believe that people would fall for this, but there are plenty of people who ignore those jury summons (about 30 % of all those sent out) so they know they're potentially in trouble anyway, and if the con artists are good, people might just be scared enough to respond. Of course the ''better'' thing to do would be to respond to the jury summons in the first place as required by law.