Riverside County Superior Court officials is warning residents to beware of a scam targeting people who may ignored a jury summons.
According to Presiding Judge Mark Cope, people in recent weeks have been contacted by parties claiming to be with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department or the court, seeking payments to resolve warrants stemming from a failure to report for jury duty.
"Please be aware that these calls are fraudulent," Cope said. "They have no connection with the court or the sheriff's office."
He said the fraudsters typically ask for personal information and demand payment via a prepaid credit card or Green Dot MoneyPak card -- or else their target risks being "held in contempt of court."
"In one instance, the caller asked to meet the individual at the courthouse in order to collect the purported fine," the judge said. "No court or sheriff's employee will ever contact a member of the public and ask for personal or financial information in lieu of attending jury duty, or to make up for failure to attend jury duty."
Anyone who receives such a request should immediately call their local police department, according to court officials.
The jury duty scam is one of several tried region-wide using similar methods.
Last month, the Corona Police Department reported scam artists posing as customer service representatives from the Corona Department of Water and Power, as well as Southern California Edison, attempting to pressure people into giving them money.
Callers insist that victims use the Green Dot MoneyPak cards, which can be purchased at retail outlets, such as CVS and Kmart, where buyers can load funds onto the cards using cash or transferring money from their bank or credit card company. Funds also can be added online via PayPal. The cards are not insured against fraud-related losses.
--City News Service