Victim of jury duty scam almost lost hundreds of dollars

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A scam that popped up in Smith County in East Texas has made its way to Central Texas.

Several residents reported getting a call from someone claiming to be with the Travis County Warrant Division. The caller says the person owes a fine for missing jury duty and instructs them to go to a local store and purchase a prepaid money card and to call back with the number on the card.

Other scammers sometimes tell the victim to purchase a money order and send it to an address, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office said.

Alan White says he received the phone call a few days ago.  He says the man on the other end claimed to be a lieutenant with the sheriff’s office. “He said he wanted me to go to Walmart and get this anonymous prepaid card or debit card.”

White says he was asked to pay more than $600, and if he didn’t pay, he’d go to jail.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Office says nearly a dozen people have a received the same call.

Officials with the sheriff’s department say they do not collect fines by phone or prepaid cards.

“If you do happen to get a phone call, which isn’t likely…they’ll tell you to go to court,” said Roger Wade with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. “They’ll never ask for money over the phone.”

The Travis County Clerks Office says juror lists are not public and are only available to attorneys and court personnel.

White says he’s not listed in the phone book and wonders how the scammer got his number.

It’s unclear if more than one person is behind the scam.

If you receive a similar call, you should contact your local law enforcement agency.

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