According to Talladega County Sheriff’s Captain Bill Kennedy, the sheriff’s office will never call anyone for missing jury duty. “If someone calls and tells you that, it’s a scam and a lie,” he said. “Hang up, and then call us.”
All of the calls seem to be coming from the same number, 256-589-2137.
According to one victim, a person identifying himself as Lt. Martin called her at home Friday morning. “He said that I had been sent a jury summons and that I was supposed to have reported for jury duty this morning (Friday) at 9 a.m. Since I didn’t show up, I would have to pay $550 or I would go to jail and lose my driver’s license. He said they already had an arrest warrant for me.”
She was also told to report for jury duty on Feb. 28 at 9 a.m.
The woman said she would only be able to pay about $95, so she was told to go to Wal-Mart and purchase a prepaid Green Dot Money Pak card.
At this point, she said, she was dealing with someone who identified himself as Lt. Grauthrutt.
“He kept me on the phone the whole time I was going to Wal-Mart, about 25 minutes,” she said. “When I told him Wal-Mart didn’t have the kind of card he needed, he told me to go to CVS. He said they couldn’t take a check or credit card; it had to be this kind of prepaid card. So I got to CVS, and the lady there asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this. I asked if I could call someone, but I was still on the phone the whole time.”
The victim eventually purchased the card and gave the numbers to the man on the telephone.
“Something just clicked with me when I finally got off the phone,” she said. “So I went to the judicial building, and they told me that I was not on the list, and that no jurors were coming in that day.”
She notified the sheriff’s office after that. “If I can help anyone else that gets a call like this, I hope I would,” she said.
Kennedy said similar reports continued to come in after this particular victim’s, with all of them reporting calls coming from the same number. The majority of the victims have been female so far, but Kennedy said they have been black and white, and across a spectrum of ages.
Anyone who believes they may be a victim of this or a similar scam should immediately contact the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office investigators at 256-761-2141 or their local law enforcement agency if outside Talladega County.