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News: 05/01/2018

Federal jury duty summons scam

From the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office

A victim received a call from a subject who identified himself as “Captain Al Vernon” of the “Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Civil Department.” The caller told the victim that she had failed to respond to a Grand Jury Federal Summons which she had been personally served, and that she had missed her court date. He said that since she did not respond to the summons she needed to pay fines to avoid being arrested. Per the victim, the caller directed her to Rite Aid and CVS stores to purchase Money Paks for $500 each, to pay for the fines. The victim became upset and told the caller that she had not been personally served.

Then a second subject got on the phone and identified himself as “Captain Mark Essick.” This caller told the victim to purchase the “Money Paks” to avoid being arrested. After this she could respond to the “Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Department” with her receipts. Once at the Sheriff’s Department, she could provide a handwritten sample of her signature, which would prove that she did not sign “the proof of service” form for the “Federal Jury Duty Summons,” at which point her money would be returned.

The victim purchased the Money Paks from CVS and Rite Aid and provided the bank account information to the scammers. She was warned by the CVS and Rite Aid clerks that she was probably being scammed, but the victim ignored the warnings because the scammers knew personal information about her.

The scammers stayed on the phone with the victim until she arrived at the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Once she spoke to a deputy, she was informed that the real Captain Vernon and the real Captain Essick were off duty, and was given the unfortunate news that neither the Sheriff’s Office nor members of the Sheriff’s Office, ever make calls to demand payment to avoid arrest because of a subpoena, summons, or any other type of warrant.

Please be aware of these telephonic and impersonation scams so you can avoid becoming a victim. Scammers can disguise their phone numbers to appear to be from local law enforcement or the court on the recipient’s caller ID. If you receive a call where anyone asks or demands money to avoid arrest, please contact your local police agency or respond to your local law enforcement agency in person to confirm the information you are given. Do not provide your bank account, credit card or personal information to anyone on the phone when you receive these types of calls.

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