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Jury duty scams on the rise in Sarasota, county warns

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  • | 11:15 a.m. January 30, 2024
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Sarasota County is warning residents of a statewide surge in imposters calling residents and accusing them of missing jury duty.

The scams are occurring with increased frequency in the county, according to a public service announcement from Karen E. Rushing, clerk of the Circuit Court and county comptroller.

The scammers tell residents that there is an outstanding citation and/or warrant out for their arrest due to missing jury duty, according to the Sarasota County PSA. The callers present themselves as clerk officials, judges or law enforcement officers, and request that payment be made (often by wire, loadable debit cards or other prepaid gift cards) to avoid arrest and incarceration. 

There are a few versions of the scam, not all of which ask for money outright. The jury scam may be used to trick you into providing sensitive information that can be used for identity theft.

Neither the Clerk and Comptroller, nor law enforcement employees initiate phone calls for missed jury duty. Nor will employees of either agency demand payment by phone or request personal financial information. 

Moreover, failure to appear for jury duty is not grounds for immediate arrest. Court-related communications are typically sent through normal mail.

Tips from Sarasota County
  • Jury summons come in the mail, not by email or phone.
  • If no jury summons was received, then ignore phone calls from anyone claiming to be calling about jury duty.
  • The Clerk and Comptroller’s office will not contact you by phone for failure to appear for jury duty.
  • The Clerk and Comptroller’s office will not phone or email you to request any type of payment for missing jury duty.
  • If someone asks you to pay a fee or fine with a gift card, it is likely a scam.
  • Ignore calls for immediate action because scammers will often try to get you to act before you think by creating a sense of urgency.
  • Be wary of relying on Caller ID, as many phone numbers can be “spoofed” making a phone call look like it’s coming from a legitimate source.
  • If a caller threatens you, hang up and call 311 immediately.
  • Do not give out financial or other personal information over the phone.

The county advises that to protect yourself against phone or email scams just hang up or do not reply to written communication. Unless you have initiated contact, never give your personal or financial information over the phone. If you receive a court-related call and are unsure about its authenticity, call the Clerk and Comptroller’s Jury Office at 941-861-8000 for verification. If you feel you’ve been a victim of fraud, call local law enforcement at 311.


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