Okla. AG, AARP Warn of Jury Duty Identity Theft Scam

March 27, 2006

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and AARP Oklahoma are warning Oklahomans of an identity theft scam that uses the threat of arrest to steal personal information from its victims.

“The scam is initiated by a telephone call,” Edmondson said. “The con man pretends to be a court official calling to find out why you failed to show up for jury duty. Of course, you respond that you never received a summons and had no idea you needed to go to the courthouse. The caller then informs you that a warrant has been issued for your arrest and requests your Social Security number and date of birth.”

Edmondson said while he is unfamiliar with the exact jury summons procedures in each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, this type of telephone call should send up warning flags.

“If you receive this type of call, ask for the caller’s name, hang up the phone and call the court clerk,” Edmondson said. “If you have skipped out on jury duty, the court clerk will know it. Any time a stranger calls and asks for personal information like Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers, do not provide that information over the phone.”

AARP officials contacted Edmondson’s office about the scam because they worry that seniors may be especially vulnerable to this scam’s allusion of authority.

“As a general rule, seniors have tremendous respect for authority,” said Bob Bristow, AARP state president. “Con men will play upon that respect and use intimidating tactics to pry personal information from their victims. This scam is just another tactic thieves will use to steal your identity.”

Edmondson and Bristow ask any Oklahoman who receives this type of call to contact local police and the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.

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