Philadelphia court officials are sounding the alarm about a novel scam exploiting unsuspecting victims under the guise of jury duty obligations. Scammers initiate the scheme with a call impersonating a sheriff, falsely claiming that individuals have missed jury duty, then threatening them with impending charges and arrest.

In a bid to avoid fictitious jail time, the scammers propose an alternative: paying their way out of the situation. Victims are led to believe that settling the matter through a civil payment will resolve the issue. However, this is a ruse, and victims are instructed to make payments via Venmo.

Philadelphia Jury Commissioner Patrick Martin emphasized that legitimate courts never make such calls, especially ones that involve threats of payment or arrest. If individuals genuinely miss jury duty, they will receive a notice by mail and, if necessary, face a court hearing with a judge imposing any applicable fines.

Similar scams have emerged in other regions, including Florida and Chester County, Pennsylvania. Those targeted by this scam are urged to contact their local police department, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555, or report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission online.