The Albemarle County Sheriff’s office is warning community members of a jury duty scam, in which callers posing as Sheriff Chan Bryant of the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office claim that the victim is about to be arrested for not appearing for jury duty, but can avoid arrest by paying a fine.
The scammers often provide information that seems very convincing, including the real names and location of the courthouse, court phone numbers, case and badge numbers, and in some cases even spoofing the Sheriff’s Office phone number.
Recent scammers have also included the victim’s maiden name, work address, home address and date of birth, which further leads the victim to believe the call is legitimate. The caller then tells the victim they can avoid arrest by paying an immediate fine and walks them through purchasing a prepaid debit or gift card or making an electronic payment to satisfy the “fine.”
“The people conducting this scam can be very convincing. They call their law-abiding victims and terrify them with threats of arrest and jail unless they pay up immediately. The Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office personally serves grand jury summons,” Bryant said in a press release.
Bryant said anyone who was actually scheduled to serve on a grand jury would have received paperwork delivered to their residence by the Sheriff’s Office. If the Sheriff’s office has a warrant for someone’s arrest, they will show up at the person’s house and will not give you a phone call. They do not contact citizens and demand payment or personal information by phone or email.
Calls can be authenticated by contacting the Clerk’s Office of the Albemarle County Circuit Court at (434) 972-4083. Report scams to the Albemarle County Police Department at (434) 296-5807.