Officials warn of local jury duty scam

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SANDPOINT — First District court officials are warning the public of a jury duty scam that appears to be making the rounds in the community.

Bonner County’s Jury Office was advised Monday that a member of the public had been contacted on Sunday by someone claiming to be a sergeant from the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office and was calling in regard to a failure to appear in court for a trial.

The caller told the person to report to the courthouse on Sunday and that a judge was waiting to see her, despite the fact that the facility is not open during the weekend. The caller said the person risked arrest if they did not comply. The caller also appeared to know about the person’s criminal record and other pertinent information, causing her to think it was a legitimate call.

The caller sought to confirm personal information, such as her address and telephone number.

“This is not the first time the jury office has been contacted about such an incident,” Jury Commissioner Chris Quayle said.

The woman who received the call had not been assigned jury service recently, according to the jury office.

Authorities are strongly warning the public not to divulge personal information over the phone. They urge members of the public to contact Bonner Dispatch at 208-265-5525 or the jury office at 208-265-1443 if they receive suspicious calls involving jury duty.

Jury issues are only shared with law enforcement in situations involving recalcitrant jurors who fail to complete a jury questionnaire, present themselves for jury duty or other forms of prospective juror obstinance.

However, the jury office makes every attempt to bring about prospective juror compliance — even if it takes several months — before involving law enforcement. Sheriff’s officials may become involved if a potential juror has refused a certified mailing at a confirmed address. They may call to confirm an address, but would not ask for personal information such as Social Security numbers or banking and credit card information. Law enforcement already has ready access to dates of birth, so there would be no need to divulge that information over the phone.

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