Jury duty scheme threatens jail time for those who don’t pay

Pay up, or go to jail. That’s the latest scheme targeting residents here in Hawaii and around the country.

“Over the last week or so we’ve received several calls or inquiries about this scam“, said Timothy Caminos of the Hawaii Better Business Bureau.

It works when schemers call or text, claiming you’ve missed jury duty, and need to pay a $500fine or go to jail.

“As a concerned citizen you’re going to be, “I don’t want to go to jail” and a lot of times people will end up unfortunately paying the money“, said Caminos.

“We wanted to make sure that you understand that we don’t reach out to people through any kind of communication such as email or text“, said Calvin Ching, Deputy Chief Court Administrator.

The state also says it doesn’t threaten people.

“I want to assure that the courts do not in any way threaten people in that respect. If you feel threatened or you don’t understand or if there’s a question call the jury pool office“, said Ching.

We wanted to know how the state talks to jurors. An official jury summons is printed on official letterhead with the state seal on it, and is always mailed.

The Better Business Bureau says the scheme is running rampant around the country, with a number of people falling victim.

“As technology progresses con artists are getting a little bit, they’re using that to their advantage and so what we’re seeing is from spam email or from going door-to-door now to them being able to affect hundreds of thousands of people at the same time“, said Caminos.

If you still have questions about jury duty, you’re urged to call the state court system.

For more information, visit http://www.courts.state.hi.us or call 808-539-4360.

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