Dauphin County Judiciary Warns of Scam

Oct 26, 2023

HARRISBURG – A scam in which a call-taker is told he or she missed jury duty has been attempted several times in Dauphin County in recent days, according to Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas President Judge John F. Cherry.

Cherry said concerned residents have contacted the court system to report receiving troubling calls. In the calls, a scammer claims the call-taker failed to appear for jury duty and needs to pay a fine immediately.

In at least one call, the scammer used a real judge’s name and claimed that judge was prepared to issue a warrant if the call-taker didn’t pay $2,000. The scammer, who answered a return call, further claimed to be a “detective” with an unnamed agency.

“Our citizens are generally quite conscientious and civic minded, so they serve as jurors when asked,” Cherry said. “If someone fails to arrive for jury duty, the person receives a call asking about the circumstances and then, if that call isn’t answered, will be visited by sheriff’s deputies at home. The sheriff’s deputies will have the appropriate identification and badges, so there would be no mistake who is at the door.”

While the juror scam has been perpetrated for almost 20 years, its frequency is believed to ebb and flow. It is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a law enforcement or court official.

People receiving a call about missing jury duty should never give sensitive information over the phone. Those with concerns should call their local police department or the Pennsylvania Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555.