SILER CITY — An ongoing scam involving jury duty has surfaced in Chatham County and surrounding counties. Last week, Sheriff Mike Roberson’s Office issued a cautionary alert to residents in the area concerning the scam with information on how to handle the calls and voicemails used to propagate the scam.
According to the sheriff’s office, they received several reports of residents being contacted by scammers falsely posing as representatives of the sheriff's office. These fraudulent callers have also been found to spoof the Sheriff's Office telephone number to lend an air of authenticity to their deceitful calls.
In each reported case, the impostor caller informs the recipient that they have failed to fulfill their jury duty obligation and must promptly pay a fine to prevent imminent arrest and potential incarceration. Several residents noted that the scammers left voicemail messages when their calls were unanswered. The scammer often asks for a credit card number or provides directions to deposit money into a Bitcoin ATM.
"These deceptive individuals prey on the fear of arrest and exploit our sense of civic responsibility,” said Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson. “The Sheriff’s Office will never call you to demand payment for missed jury duty. If you receive such a call, please report it to our office immediately. Together, we can protect our community from these fraudulent schemes.”
The sheriff’s office is urging anyone who receives such a call to hang up immediately without divulging any personal information or taking any action as instructed by the caller.
Across the state of North Carolina, instances of individuals falling victim to jury duty scams have been reported, resulting in significant financial losses. Disobeying a jury summons in North Carolina can result in a penalty of $50.00 for each instance of failure to appear. Notably, official jury summonses and failure to appear notices are always dispatched to residents' homes or post office boxes through first-class mail in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts has issued several advisories about jury duty scams this year. The court system and law enforcement agencies identified fraudulent activity in Carteret County in January, Johnston County in March, Mecklenburg County in August, and Davidson and Randolph counties in September.
According to the state court system, “the scammers are very convincing and often have your name and address, use the name of a real judge and/or law enforcement officers, and refer to local locations to make you believe the call is legitimate.