PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Being picked for jury duty can be stressful. But receiving a call saying you missed jury duty and face arrest is downright terrifying! But it’s happening all over the country. 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan with information so you can avoid being scammed.
Kelly Bates and her husband got a call last year from someone claiming to be with the local sheriff’s department.READ MORE: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney Says He'll Be Happy When He's Not Mayor Following Fourth Of July Shooting
“I get a phone call that there is a bench warrant for my arrest, that I had missed jury duty,” said Bates.
Mark Doggett’s family was targeted as well.
“He knew our address our phone number,” said Doggett.
It’s called the jury duty scam. Con artists say you’ve missed jury duty and you’re going to be arrested unless you pay up.
“He said all you need to do is send some money via Paypal and that’s when I knew something was wrong,” said Doggett.
In many cases the criminals use technology called spoofing to make their number look like it comes from a local court or police department.READ MORE: Sources: Authorities Investigating Whether 2 Police Officers Struck By Stray Bullets On Ben Franklin Parkway
Investigators even discovered prisoners in Georgia pulling off the scam from behind bars.
The con artists often hard to catch because they demand untraceable payments like Paypal, wire transfers or prepaid debit cards.
“When they start demanding money from you over the phone, that’s when you know it’s a scam,” said Monica Vaca with the Federal Trade Commission.
Doggett became suspicious of the caller and hung up.
But Bates forked over $895 dollars and afterward the con artist let her know she got ripped off.
“He finally said, are you aware of what just happened? I said, It’s pretty obvious now,” said Bates.
The best thing to do if you receive one of these scam calls is to hang up!MORE NEWS: Kyle Schwarber Homers Twice In Phillies' 11-0 Romp Past Nationals
People who’ve received these calls should report it to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP.