A nationwide scam is circulating where fraudsters are posing as U.S. Marshals and federal court personnel. These fraudsters will call trying to intimidate victims with threats of arrest and fines to get them to believe they failed to appear for jury duty. It can be a frightening phone call to receive. The scammers appear well-prepared. They have the names and addresses of their potential victims. They will try to convince victims that they missed jury duty by failing to report to court. To avoid arrest they demand payment of the “fine” for not responding. They request payment in cash, gift card, or by providing debit/credit card information. A courier may respond to pick up the cash or gift cards, or they will instruct you to drop off payment at a secondary location. Failure to pay will result in “Deputies” arresting the victim. They provide the real names and addresses of judges, court personnel, and the name of the U.S. Marshal for the federal district. This information is available publicly. Kansas has seen this scam several times. While several attempts throughout Kansas have been unsuccessful, it is unknown how many times it has been successfully employed and the victim did not report it.
To be clear: If someone calls claiming to be a judge, court officer, Deputy U.S. Marshal, or sheriff’s deputy and threatens fines or jail time for failure to comply with a jury summons, do not provide them with any information. Assume this is a scam. Do not pay them anything. Federal officials will never request money or banking information from jurors. To verify authenticity of the call, contact the office of the U.S. District Court Clerk directly.
- The federal courts send jury summons exclusively via U.S. Mail.
- When federal court personnel contact prospective jurors by phone, they will never request payment or banking information.
Fines are never imposed until after an individual appears in court and has the opportunity to discuss the jury absence with the Judge. If a fine is imposed, it will be in open court and not over the phone.