Cowetans fall victim to jury duty scam
by Wes Mayer
Three Cowetans have become victims of a new scam in the county where they were made to believe they missed jury duty and were required to pay a hefty fine.
The Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and Superior Court Clerk’s Office are hoping to warn all Cowetans of this scam, which seems to be targeting elderly citizens. According to Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager, citizens are being called by a number that reads the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, but it is actually a scammer. Yeager said the scammer may be using a phone app to change his number’s identity.
What is interesting about this scam is that the caller will stay on the phone until the victim pays, said Cindy Brown, clerk of Coweta Superior Court. The scammer first tells the victim they missed jury duty and must pay an $1,100 fine – to pay this fine, they must purchase specific Green Dot prepaid debit cards from a Rite Aid pharmacy. Once purchased, the victims are asked to read the cards’ numbers over the phone, and the scammer can withdraw the money.
Brown said one victim was on the phone with the scammer for more than two-and-a-half hours because the first Rite Aid did not carry the cards. The victim later found the cards in another store but had to purchase three of them because they each maxed out at $400.
“We would never call you on the phone if you missed jury duty,” Brown said. “When you receive jury summons, it will be by mail. If by accident or another reason you miss out on jury duty, we will always send a letter first.”
Brown said if a person is consistently missing jury duty, a deputy may be sent to their home. Any fines will be up to a judge, she said.
Yeager said the sheriff’s office does not handle jury duty summons or fines whatsoever, and even if they did, they would not ask for payment over the phone. He said if anyone receives a call and believes it is a scam, they should contact the sheriff’s office immediately. Brown also said if anyone has questions about jury duty, they are welcome to call the Superior Court Clerk’s office or visit in person at the office in the Justice Center on Greenville Street.