Sheriff warns of jury duty scam in Henry County

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 2:29 PM EDT
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HENRY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry is warning residents of a scam that’s affected many areas across the country.

Scammers pose as deputies with the sheriff’s office and threaten to arrest people if they do not pay fines, according to Sheriff Perry. Callers may identify themselves as law enforcement officers who claim potential victims are about to be arrested for not appearing for jury duty or serving on a grand jury. The scammers also say potential victims can avoid being arrested by paying fines. The scammers tell victims they can pay fines, then walk them through buying prepaid debit or gift cards or making electronic payments to satisfy the “fines.”

These scammers often provide convincing information, says Perry, including the real name and location of the courthouse, court phone numbers, and case and badge numbers. The scammers may include information such as a potential victim’s maiden name, work address, home address and date of birth. In some cases, they may even spoof a phone number from the sheriff’s office. Lane says, “The people conducting this scam can be persuasive. Citizens should always be hesitant to provide personally identifying information over the phone or via text message.”

The Henry County Sheriff’s Office personally serves grand jury summons, says Perry. If you are scheduled to serve on a grand jury or jury duty, you will receive paperwork delivered to your home by the Sheriff’s Office. If there is a warrant for your arrest, deputies will show up at your house, not call you. Deputies will not contact residents and demand payment or personal information by phone or email. Court officials and law enforcement officers will never ask for a credit card or debit card number, wire transfers, or bank routing number over the phone.

If you question a phone call or letter, Lane urges you to call law enforcement before acting on its instructions.

Anyone who has been victimized by a scam or has information on suspected scammers in Henry County is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). The Crimestoppers Program offers rewards up to $2,500 for information related to crime.