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Nasty ID Theft Scam

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WARNING: Nasty ID Theft Scam

LAST UPDATE: 9/28/2005 9:20:00 AM

Posted By: Jim Forsyth

This story is available on your cell phone at mobile.woai.com.

A scary new scam is making the rounds that is convincing even otherwise savvy people to hand over personal information to identity thieves, 1200 WOAI's Bob Branson reported this morning.

Here's how it works. A scammer calls a victim and claims to calling 'from the courthouse,' and informs the victim that a 'bench warrant' has been issued for the victim's arrest, because the victim ignored a summons to appear that day for jury duty.

The victim is immediately flustered and on the defensive, which puts them in a perfect position for the scammer to begin to demand information.

The scammer says the whole thing 'might be a mistake' and he might be able to 'get the warrant lifted' if the victim would only provide enough personal information, and proceeds to demand Social Security Numbers, dates of birth; all the information identity thieves need to set up accounts in the victim's name or empty the victim's bank accounts.

Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed says the scam works because it plays on the fact that people frequently receive summonses to appear for jury duty, often forget about them, and many people are intimidated by the court system.

"First of all, any one should beware of someone calling to them to get personal information from them," Reed said. "The jury duty people aren't going to do it, courthouse agencies aren't going to do it, so they shouldn't give it out."

She says 'scam artists' have found a way to put people on the defensive and make them more likely to give out information that they know should not be given to strangers.

"Besides, we generally don't give you a heads up that we're coming out to arrest you," Reed joked. "That does not happen."

She said any residents receiving a call like this should notify police immediately, and should take note of any called i.d. information.

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That's a new one. Another version of Phishing

Just never give out personal information on the phone if someone calls you.

If you get a letter to do jury duty and you don't want to do it write them back with a reason. Medical problems like incontinence. You suffer from narcolepsy (severe sleepiness). Or you don't have a drivers license because it was suspended.

Also, cell phone numbers are supposed to be unlisted. If someone calls me and it sounds like I don't want to deal with them I just say I'm not interested" and hang up.

Some people don't register to vote because they believe that that is where the jury duty list comes from. I think in most places it also comes from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) so if you have a drivers license you are probably on the list.

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I think that this scam will be effective because it touches a nerve for a lot of people.

Too many people despise jury duty and do whatever they can to flout it. I can sympathize for like a low wage worker who lives from paycheck to paycheck. And I can understand if you get picked to be on the OJ Simpson trial but most jury trials are settled right the trials even begin.

But then there are too many people whose employers either pay for it and let’s you use sick or vacation time for it.

I remember one time, my sister was livid that she got a jury summons. She complained that she doesn’t even vote because she doesn’t ever want to sit in a jury. Little did she know in Texas, potential jurors are pulled from an active driver’s licenses, not just from the voting rolls (which is done in most states now). But what I found bothersome is that she is a teacher and her district would have paid for it and it would be no problem for her to serve (and even be an example for her students).

Jury duty and voting are very simple obligations to being a part of this country.

And since too many people sidestep these simple obligations, I think the scammers have found a good crop of potential victims for this one.

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Well I certainly believe in the jury system. It's a great idea. Brought to us by the way by the Vikings. It's a great system in principal and I believe in it fully.

However people who get paid by the hour don't get paid if they are not at work. For salaried employees that have benefits and secure jobs, and they aren't many of those these days, jury duty is a nice diversion from work.

For myself I tend to fall asleep after about 9 minutes in a meeting or a class room situation unless I can talk. To get through a two hour meeting I generally have to skip breakfast, take 300 MG's of caffeine tablets, and bring to the meeting 3 cups of coffee in one big insulated coffee cup.

For others a phobia of being in a small space might be an issue or attention deficit syndrome.

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I remember one time, my sister was livid that she got a jury summons. She complained that she doesn’t even vote because she doesn’t ever want to sit in a jury.

There's a good George Carlin bit about jury duty

Some people lie to get out of jury duty. You know what I do? I tell them the truth. I tell them I would be a terrific juror because I can spot guilty people *snap finger* just like that

Me - I would go into the jury room in all dark robes as the Grim one - or carry a rope and have on a cowboy hat and say "Which way to the hangin'?"

My former boss went to jury duty with a bunch of buttons reading "Amnesty International". it was a potential capital case and of course he was excused.

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Thats funny.

If anybody asks me about capital punishment I say that people should be put to death by the firing squad and that we should sell tickets to fire some of the riffles on ebay.

The rite to final statement not to exceed 90 seconds and one cigarette should also be part of the ritual!

The punishment for rape should be public castration!

Gee I guess I won't be on any rape or murder trials in the future!


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  • 4 weeks later...

Me - I would go into the jury room in all dark robes as the Grim one - or carry a rope and have on a cowboy hat and say "Which way to the hangin'?"

My favorite is to go in and ask " where do I Apply for the job PULLING ARMS OFF OF THIEVES"

that'll do it every time

Of course there are dozens of these you could show up in carpenters garb and say your there to build the Gallows on the courthouse lawn

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