Scams related to jury duty are prevalent throughout the country. A recent scam targeted citizens of Middle Georgia. The scam involved a phone call from someone posing as a Deputy Marshal or Deputy Sheriff informing citizens that they failed to report for jury duty and that a warrant or citation has been issued. The caller offered the juror an opportunity to pay money to avoid further trouble. The payment was directed to be made in cash or prepaid debit/credit cards within a short period, and delivered to an address that was not a United States courthouse.
While the failure to appear for jury service can carry monetary penalties under 28 U.S.C. §1866(g), the Court would first order a juror to appear in court and show cause for the failure to comply with the summons. The Court would not assess a penalty by phone, and it would not direct payment by cash or prepaid card. Any fine for failure to appear for jury duty would be imposed by a judge during an open session of court, and the juror would be given the opportunity to explain the failure to appear before being assessed a fine.
Most contact between a federal court and a prospective juror will be through U.S. mail, and any phone contact by court staff will not include requests for sensitive information such as Social Security numbers or credit card information.
If anyone suspects they have been targeted by this scam or is contacted by someone requesting payments related to jury duty, please do not make the payment. Instead, immediately report the incident to your local law enforcement agency. You may also contact the U.S. District Court Clerk's Office in Macon, GA at (478) 752-3497 for verification of any suspicious communications related to jury service.