Jury Duty and Process Server Scams
A caller rings your phone claiming they are a Court Officer or Process Server and they are coming to arrest you. They make themselves sound all Professional and scary. They name official sounding agencies, and have official sounding titles. These callers tell you that you have missed Jury Duty or have fraudulent activity on your bank accounts, you owe a bill you have never heard of, or the most scary one is that they tell you that you are under investigation for criminal activity.
These sort of scams calls can be especially terrifying for young folks, the elderly, or just folks that haven't had much exposure to the Court System. The caller tells you are in big trouble BUT YOU CAN GET OUT OF IT IF ONLY IF YOU give them a DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD OR BANKING person. Before you know it, these scammers can steal your identity, wipe out your bank accounts, and cause you all kinds of trouble for years to come.
1) I'M COMING TO ARREST YOU:
Many times these scammers will tell you they don't know where you are but are sending out agents to arrest you. These calls always make me laugh.. Ok.. you don't know where I am but you are coming to arrest me? Sure. These calls are meant to unnerve you and get you to give them information they don't have. NEVER, EVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION OVER THE PHONE ( BANK ACCOUNTS, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ETC) .. A LEGITIMATE PROCESS SERVER WILL NEVER ASK FOR THESE THINGS OVER THE PHONE. We already know where you live so if we call or text we USUALLY MAKE REFERENCE TO HAVING THAT INFORMATION ALREADY SO YOU WILL KNOW IT'S LEGITIMATE. You should NEVER BE THREATENED with Arrest. A legitimate Law Enforcement Officer will not threaten you, they will actually just arrest you and it will be for a criminal act, and will not call you or warn you
2) TELLING YOU WHAT THE MATTER IS ALL ABOUT:
A LEGITIMATE COURT OFFICER OR PROCESS SERVER won't be able to tell you what we have for you UNTIL we see you in person ( This is for your security and privacy as we can't be sure that we have reached you when we do call.) Additionally, if your Court Documents are related to a Debt Collection Matter it can be a violation of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
3) OFFERING TO SETTLE THE MATTER :
A real Process Server or legitimate Court Officer ask you for money or credit card information.. We are NOT ALLOWED.. If you owe a Fine, Fee, or Judgment THAT MUST BE COLLECTED BY THE COURT CLERKS AT YOUR LOCAL COURT HOUSE.
4) TELLING YOU TO BUY GIFT CARDS :
A lot of these scammers will also request instead of banking information for you to purchase gift cards. While clearly cleaning out your bank account is a score for scammers, having you buying gift cards still gets your money but also eliminates a paper trail. Once you give these scammers the activation code, they're off to the races and you can never ever trace where that money went off to.
5) THREATENING TO CALL YOUR EMPLOYER :
While it is true that sometimes a Process Server has to come to a Defendant's work place, it isn't something we really like to do. Unfortunately, there is a wealth of information about us online. Many of us do not have secure social media profiles, and sites like Linked In or Alignable while excellent places to network are also a treasure trove of information about our work places. This is only a bluff however, and is meant as a means to get you to cooperate.
What Should I Do If I Should Get One of These Calls?
The best answer if you get one of these calls is to just hang up. If you are worried about whether you actually have a warrant, or suit, missed jury duty, or that a real Process Server is attempting to locate you, call your local Court Clerk. While they won't confirm our identities, ( this keeps these scammers from find out our names and attempting to use them to sound legitimate) the clerk will let you know if a suit has been filed against you. If you do keep them talking just remember to NEVER, EVER GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have a specific legal issue, please consult a licensed attorney.
If you need Process Service or other Litagation Support Services in East Tennessee, call
Smoky Mountain Process and Legal Services at
(865) 347-7967 or contact them at www.besttnserver.com
Chris Wilkinson is the CEO, and Chief Investigative Process Server of Smoky Mountain Process and Legal Services in Knoxville, Tennessee. She lives with her partner and dogs, and enjoys activities in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee in her spare time.