Chester County Sheriff warns about jury service scam
By Steven Hoffman
Chester County Sheriff Carolyn Bunny Welsh has issued a warning to county residents following reports of jury service scams in Chester County and neighboring counties.
Bogus calls to county residents, claiming to come from the Sheriff’s Office, note failure to report for jury duty, resulting in the threat of an arrest warrant. The caller instructs residents to purchase a prepaid debit or credit card for several hundred dollars to suspend the arrest warrant, and threatens that failure to purchase a debit or credit card will result in an arrest.
Sheriff Welsh noted: “Residents should be aware that the court or the Sheriff’s Office would never contact a person via telephone or email to demand payment of a fine to avoid being arrested for failure to appear for jury service.
“Individuals who fail to appear for jury service may receive a letter from the court with a date to appear and explain to a judge why they failed to appear, but they would never receive this communication in a telephone call.”
Only a judge can require people to pay a fine for failing to appear for jury service, and this may occur only after a people have been given the opportunity to explain themselves in open court.
Anyone receiving a call like this should not provide any requested information, and instead should hang up and contact his or her local police department, the Chester County Jury Services Office at 610-344-6174 or the Chester County Sheriff’s Office at 610-344-6850.
Residents can also visit the Federal Trade Commission website at https://www.ftc.gov to make a complaint and to receive more information on how to avoid and identify SCAMS.