Scammers want money for ‘missed’ jury duty

Scammers have been targeting Pierce County residents by calling and claiming the resident missed jury duty and now owe as much as $1,000.

The Sheriff’s Department has received numerous calls from residents complaining about the phone calls, during which the scammer claims to be an employee with the sheriff’s office and demands money.

In reality, failure to appear for jury duty is a misdemeanor and the person would receive a notice in the mail indicating he or she could be held in contempt of court, Superior Court administrator Andra Motyka said.

Notices can be appealed and the court does not demand a penalty, though violators might face court fines.

The Sheriff’s Department heard about the recent scam calls on Monday, when Sumner’s communications director, Carmen Palmer, alerted the department of a phone call she received.

The number that appears when the scam call comes in begins with 798, the same prefix as the rest of the sheriff’s department’s phones, Palmer said.

The Sheriff’s Department is trying to determine where the number is coming from and has posted a notice on its website alerting people to the scam and urging anyone who has received a call to report it.

The sheriff’s website lists jury scams in Seattle as well as Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties at Information also is available by calling 253-798-4722.