McGriff warns of jury duty scam

Published 10:40 pm Saturday, February 28, 2009

If someone calls you on the phone and says you didn’t show up for jury duty, chances are that it’s not true.

Chilton County Circuit Clerk Glenn McGriff was notified of this scam by the FBI and wanted to let local residents know about this.

According to the FBI release, a caller claims to be a jury coordinator and tells the person that he or she missed jury duty. If the person who answers the phone protests that he or she never received a summons, the scammer asks the person for his or her Social Security Number and date of birth so an arrest warrant is canceled.

McGriff said a Social Security Number is never used in obtaining a jury pool.

“The information comes from driver’s licenses,” McGriff said. “We don’t need a Social Security Number.”

In the process of obtaining a jury pool, McGriff notifies the Alabama state court of how many jurors he needs for a trial. A computer randomly selects the names and sends McGriff a list of the names with their addresses.

A Social Security Number never appears on the report for prospective jurors. McGriff encouraged everyone not to give out your Social Security Number if someone like this calls you.

“That’s a no-no,” he said. “We don’t need it to get a jury pool, and we’ll never ask for it.”

McGriff said someone could be arrested for not showing up for jury duty, but any arrest warrants would have to be served by law enforcement, not a jury coordinator. Even then, Social Security Numbers aren’t involved with swearing out a warrant.

Although no cases have yet been reported, McGriff wanted Chilton County residents to be on their guard.

“Never give out your Social Security Number to anyone,” he said.