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Boone Co. Sheriff’s Department warns of jury duty phone scam

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is warning people of another phone scam in Mid-Missouri.

The Sheriff’s Department says a man claiming to be a lieutenant with the “Boone County Warrants Division” called one woman and told her she failed to appear for jury duty and needed to pay a fine.

The unknown caller told the woman his name was “Lt. Allen” and asked her for her debit card, credit card or PayPal account information. He told her there was an active warrant for her arrest and she needed to pay the fine over the phone.

But the Sheriff’s Department says it would never ask for that payment information in a phone call. Detective Tom O’Sullivan says you should always be suspicious of callers you don’t know, even if they claim to be an authority figure.

Tom O’Sullivan, Boone Co. Sheriff’s Department: “You really shouldn’t because government agencies really don’t operate in this manner. And if a person is suspicious of the individual on the other end of the line, they should politely terminate the phone call and then call that government agency back to get verification.”

When you are selected for jury service, Missouri law says, “If you fail to appear as directed by this summons you may be held in contempt of court and fined.”

Marla Gunn, the jury supervisor of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court says it’s not that uncommon that someone forgets to show up for jury duty. She says they usually do have a percentage of absent people.

The first time a person misses jury duty, Gunn says the court sends them a “Failure to Appear” letter in the mail with a re-assignment for jury duty another week.

If they miss a second time, they may have to show up in front of a judge and explain why they were absent. Then if proven guilty, Gunn says the person may face up to a $500 fine or community service. Gunn says they would never call and ask the person to pay over the phone.

O’Sullivan says the woman did the right thing and did not give out her payment information.

O’Sullivan: “We don’t ask for money over the phone. We don’t ask for your debit card or your credit card, that’s just not the way we operate.”

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