Vulnerable Minnesotans are being targeted by scam artists who threaten them with punishment for failing to attend jury service.
A warning has been issued by Lorie S. Gildea, the Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice, who is calling on people to be aware of the scams.
Recently, scammers have been calling or emailing citizens, threatening them with fines, prosecutions or even imprisonment for failing to comply with jury duty.
They then demand a payment, or private information including social security numbers that they then use for identity theft.
Chief Justice Gildea says that anyone summoned for state jury duty will always receive their summons via the mail from a Minnesota district court.
"Minnesota courts will never contact a person by phone or e-mail and seek payment of fines, Social Security numbers, credit card information, or any other sensitive information in response to missed jury duty," the warning notes.
"Counties and district courts are hearing, once again, that scammers are preying on Minnesotans with fake jury duty summons and calls," said Chief Justice Gildea.
"Jury duty is an important civic honor. I laud the dedication of citizens who report for jury service, and urge Minnesotans to learn about and protect themselves from the potentially devastating consequences of these scams."
Anyone who receives a suspicious call or email regarding jury duty that asks for financial or private data should call their local sheriff's office.