Question Authority

It is a law to report to jury duty if you are summoned. When I was summoned I had to defer it to another time because I was going to have surgery. I had to put down another time that I would be available and willing to serve. When I read this press release I could totally identify with people who fell for this scam. I was never called back, but then again…maybe I missed the notice. The basic scam is people call and tell the receiver that they missed jury duty and that a warrant was out for their arrest. The callers would then get social security number and sometimes even credit card number to cover the fine of missing jury duty and erasing the warrant. The FBI  has been investigating this clever new way to steal identities. It has been reported in more than 12 states.

The scam’s bold simplicity may be what makes it so effective. Facing the unexpected threat of arrest, victims are caught off guard and may be quick to part with some information to defuse the situation.

“They get you scared first,” says a special agent in the Minneapolis field office who has heard the complaints. “They get people saying, ‘Oh my gosh! I’m not a criminal. What’s going on?'” That’s when the scammer dangles a solution-a fine, payable by credit card, that will clear up the problem.

With enough information, scammers can assume your identity and empty your bank accounts.

 It makes me wonder sometimes how much impact and influence authority or the appearance of authority has on our society. How many people know that court officers never ask for personal information over the phone? I definately did not.


3 Responses

  1. Yeah, telephone scams were (or are) a huge problem with identity theft. Remember all of those funny commericals for some bank that offered protection against identity theft? They had someone old couch potato with a young female voice talking about stealing the bank card and going on a shopping spree. Anyhow, the couch potato was the one who was the victim o identity theft.
    And now with everyone spending all of their time online, they have come up with these clever e-mail scams that do bascially the same thing. Or they’ll send you an e-mail stating that you’ve won something, like a large amount of money, and they just need your bank account number to deposit the cash. That kind of stuff. It happens all the time. Trust no one.

  2. Oh, this just infuriates me. And Aluki is right. It happens constantly. There is a cesspool of social detritus that is somehow intelligent enough to pull the wool over they eyes of thousands of U.S. citizens. Then who looks like a fool? Unfortunately there is a plethora of wet-behind-the-ears Pollyannas like me out there who, when the time comes, think that everyone is angelic and has an honorable reason for doing what they do. Like asking for my credit card number over the phone. Or telling me to vote on a different day. It just burns me up that it is so hard to tell when this is happening. My advice? Become a college student and keep as little money in your accounts as possible. That’s been my saving grace.

  3. This reminds of a few years ago when I was working at a small bank in Montana. People would get cashiers checks in the mail saying they won some sort of foreign lottery. The checks would always be a weird amount….lik $4,723.52 or something random like that. The letter accompanying it would say something about that being the first disbursement of their $100,000 winning and all they needed to do was deposit this check and the rest would be directy deposited into their account. Many people didn’t realize this was a scam. My bank had the policy that we would have to put a 10 day hold on non-local cashier’s checks or other larger checks. Customers would get upset with us. But little did they know, we were just protecting them. Every time it would come back that those checks were no good. My assumption is that the person running the scam had some sort of tracking that they could see what account the check was getting deposited into, and then they would use that account information to suck it dry. So if you get a check in the mail and it seems to good to be true, it probably is! It really is unfortunate that people try to take adavantage of others in this way.

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