West Boylston – Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis is warning residents about a recent phone scam in Worcester County where citizens are being targeted and threatened with prosecution for falling to comply with jury service in federal or state courts.  In recent days fraudulent calls have been made to residents where a caller identifying himself as an Officer from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office has attempted to pressure recipients into providing pre-paid money cards, credit card and confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. These calls, which threaten recipients with fines and jail time if they do not comply, are fraudulent and are not connected with the U.S. courts or the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.  This scam which has been going on for several years, is back in full force.  Over the past week, our office has received dozens of phone call regarding this, unfortunately some individuals have fallen prey to this scam.

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office does not contact residents and demand payments or ask for credit card information on behalf of the Courts regarding jury duty and is asking residents to be vigilant against this most recent scam. Federal and State courts do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call or email. Most contact between a federal or state court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information. Persons receiving such a telephone call or email should not provide the requested information, and should notify the Clerk of Court’s office of the U.S. District Court in their area. For more on the Massachusetts Court System Jury Information, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/courts/jury-info/

“Our department does not contact residents and demand payment or ask for credit card information.  Today’s scam artists are always trying to stay ahead of the curve, residents need to beware of any unsolicited calls that ask for their personal or credit card information.”  said the Sheriff  “These callers can sound convincing, will be aggressive and try to intimidate you, even threaten you with jail time.  We encourage anyone who gets a suspicious call to just hang up or call authorities first before giving out any type of personal information or money.”  Said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.