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Pa. Court Officials Say Viral ‘Missed Jury Duty’ Prank is Stressing Real Court System

(File photo)

(File photo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania court officials are warning of a prank that involves phony warnings that people have ignored jury duty notices.

Art Heinz, the spokesman for Pennsylvania’s court administrator, says it apparently begins with a phone call or text message from family or friends saying that your name appears in a local newspaper for failing to appear for jury duty. You are directed to call a phone number where you get this recorded message:

(portion of message:)  “To make arrangements to pay the $500 fine for failure to appear for jury duty, press two…”

At the end of the message, callers are told that it’s a joke purportedly associated with a humor web site and they are encouraged to pull the same prank on others.

But the callers are either confused or not paying attention to the end of the message, where they encouraged to take the third option, which is to pass the phone number on to your most “gullible” friends:

(portion of message:)  “…in much the same way that whoever gave YOU this number to call has apparently just tricked YOU. Ha ha ha!”

Heinz, the court administrator spokesman, says he has a couple of things to tell the public.

“One that this is a prank.”

Two, Heinz asks that people not to perpetuate the hoax. He says it is causing concern among people who are pranked and tying up court personnel who are answering questions about it.

Heinz says if you did miss a jury notice, you would not get a phone call, you’d be alerted by certified mail.

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