My mom recently retired, and as a retirement gift, my siblings and I bought her a computer and set up her internet access. I love my mom. But she, well, let's just say that internet rumors and urban legends were written specifically for her. My entire life I heard, "Oh, did you hear? You know that stuff, [fill in the blank]? Well, they say that it kills people." She would go on to recount impressive detail of the story as told on the evening news, her office mate or a neighbor.
She's still waiting for the killer bees to come to Los Angeles, she refuses to flash her lights at a car without theirs on for fear that they will shoot her as part of a gang initiation. She has stopped using Swiffer Wet-Jet for fear that my sister's young kids will be killed like the dog she read about on the internet. Now that she is retired and has a computer at home, you can imagine the internet rumors and e-mail warnings that she and her friends send to one another.
So, when I received an email from her warning with the subject line, "Fwd: [Fwd: FW: JURY DUTY SCAM]" you know why I chuckled and was a bit skeptical.
Here's the text of the email:
Subject: Fwd: JURY DUTY SCAM
Please pass this on to everyone in your email address
It is spreading fast so be prepared should you get
this call. Most of us take
those summonses for jury duty seriously, but enough
people skip out on
their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of
scam has surfaced. Fall for
it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS.
In this con, someone calls pretending to be a court
threateningly says a warrant has been issued for
your arrest because you
didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be
a jury coordinator.
If you protest that you never received a summons for
jury duty, the
scammer asks you for your Social Security number and
date of birth so
he or she can verify the information and cancel the
Sometimes they even ask for credit card numbers.
Give out any of this information and
bingo! Your identity just got stolen!
The scam has been reported so far in 11 states. This
(scam) is particularly insidious because they use
intimidation over the phone to try to bully
people into giving information by pretending they're
with the court system.
Egads, that's hard to read with all the weird spacing. Sorry. But more importantly, this one is actually true! Way to go Mom!
This one is much easier to believe. It does not differ too greatly from many other scams, such as the Nigerian Princess Inheritance Scam, or any other form of phishing. It is an attempt to sound like a legitimate authority and request (in this case, demand) critical confidential information from the potential victim.
I follow a simple rule in order to avoid this or any other scam like it. If I did not initiate the call or email, I do not respond or provide any confidential information. If you called your credit card company, bank or the DMV, you know whom you called, and should feel comfortable that they are legit. If your phone rings, always be suspect! Uh oh, starting to sound like my mom. Oh well, it's good advice.
Maybe I should be on the lookout for Killer Bees.