Scammers seek money for 'missed jury duty'

Your jury summons didn't get lost in the mail, even if a caller is trying to tell you otherwise.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, scammers are targeting residents in the east, claiming that they didn't show up to court for jury duty or other offenses. As a result, they will have to pay a fine or risk being arrested.

The victim is told that they can avoid arrest by buying a prepaid debit card, like a Green Dot card of gift card. They are then asked to share the card information over the phone.

“The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number or banking routing numbers or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose,” said Robert D. Pettit, Acting United States Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “If the caller is urging you to provide this type of information or any other personal or financial information, hang up."

To sound more credible, U.S. Marshals say a scammer will give you an actual badge number or name of a law enforcement officer in your area. They'll even provide the address of the courthouse nearest you.

Scammers may also spoof their number so it looks like the call is coming in from your clerk of court's office. That's why it's a good idea to call the clerk of the court’s office of the U.S. District Court to verify that the call is legitimate.

Pettit says people have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers.

If you are one of them, call the U.S. Marshals Service office and the Federal Trade Commission.

Officials say the FTC is working with local law enforcement agencies to detect patterns of fraud and make arrests in these cases.