Raleigh couple says they nearly fell victim to jury duty scam
Posted July 16, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — A Raleigh couple says they nearly fell victim to what authorities say is an elaborate scam attempting to bilk money from people panicking that they neglected jury duty.
Angela Thompson said Wednesday that she was at home Saturday afternoon when she received a call from someone purporting to be a Wake County sheriff's lieutenant.
She said the man wanted to let her know that she failed to appear for jury duty on July 10 and that he had a warrant for her arrest on charges of failure to appear and for contempt.
Two notices were mailed to her, he said – the first on June 8 and a second on June 22.
"He gave me my address, and that's when I really freaked out," Thompson said. "So, I go running through the house looking for a jury notice I might have missed."
Thompson's husband, Stuart Thompson, then got on the phone and was informed by the caller that he could avoid his wife's arrest by paying a $328 fine using a pre-paid Green Dot MoneyPak card that could be purchased at Walmart.
He bought the card, he said, but refused to give over the phone a personal identification number required for the transaction to take place.
He insisted on doing that in person and even drove to the Wake County courthouse in an effort to view the warrant..
"There were still questions whether this was a scam or if it was legitimate," Stuart Thompson said. "(The caller) started getting very upset and irate with me, saying he was trying to work with me and I was disrespecting him."
Luckily for the Thompsons, Angela Thompson knew someone who works at the Wake County Sheriff's Office who suspected a scam and urged her to call police.
"There was no warrant for my arrest," she said.
The Thompsons' story is something authorities say they are seeing across the state.
Last week, the North Carolina Attorney General's Office put out a warning after recent cases – some which use pre-recorded messages – in Cumberland County in which people were scared into providing personal financial information that can be used to steal money and to commit identity theft.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he's received several reports in the past two weeks.
"We don't operate that way," he said. "Do not do anything they ask for. Just call us."
According to the Attorney General's Office, law enforcement agencies and court officers don't ask for personal information – such as a Social Security number or bank account number – or seeks payments for fines or fees over the phone.