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Bergen sheriff warns of jury duty phone scam

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino this afternoon warned of scammers who are calling citizens and claiming they must pay a fine or be arrested for missing jury duty.

“No government agency will tell you to make payments to them through a bank or wire transfer,” Saudino said.

“All notices regarding jury duty come through the mail, including summonses to report for jury duty, and failure to report for jury duty,” he added. “These notices are mailed directly from the New Jersey Judiciary Jury Management Office and give you specific information on who to contact, and how to comply with the summons.”

Saudino said his office has received several complaints from Bergen County residents about the scam.

“It has occurred in neighboring counties as well as other states,” he said.

The callers — claiming to be with his department — accuse residents of missing jury duty, saying there’s a warrant for their arrest.

They then offer the targeted victims a chance to pay a fine and avoid arrest by providing a credit card number and/or prepaid debit card to pay a fine.

Last week, a caller instructed the victim to transfer money using a prepaid Green Dot Money-Pak.

The callers use throwaway cellphone with 201 area codes to make it look like they’re in the area, Saudino said.

“If a government agency is to contact you via phone, it will be done utilizing a bona fide publicized government phone number” he said.

“You should not give out any personal information or identification over the phone, and are advised not transfer any money using prepaid debit cards on behalf of a government agency,” the sheriff said.

“If you are being asked for your personal information from an unsolicited phone number, hang up immediately and notify your local authorities,” he said. “It is incumbent on all residents to be alert.

“And it does not hurt to take the time to verify these incidents with us.” Saudino added.

Anyone who believes they may also have been exposed to this or a similar type fraud is asked to contact either the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office at 201-646-2222, www.bergentip.com, or your local police department.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding jury duty, go to: www.judiciary.state.nj.us/juryreporting/bergen

Or call: (201) 527-2290

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