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Beware: jury scam widespread


Con artists are using a new scam to bilk money from unsuspecting victims according to State of Connecticut Jury Administrator Esther Harris.

The swindlers are pretending to be from the Jury Administration.

Middlefield’s resident State Trooper Eric Kelly said that he hasn’t heard complaints about scams involving Middlefield residents recently, but he has heard about scams occurring in neighboring towns.

Harris said that the Jury Administration has been receiving regular calls from people who were told by crooks that they owed fines due to missed jury service. Some people are receiving calls, and others emails, Harris said.

“We communicate through the mail,” Harris said. The Jury Administration definitely doesn’t demand credit card numbers over the phone, according to Harris. The “first line of communication” is always by an official notice through the mail. Harris said that although the court does arrange some communication through email, “We would never send someone an email saying they didn’t show up for Jury Service. How would we get their email address?”

Any legitimate fine can be verified by calling the court.

According to Deputy Chief John Klett of the Berlin Police Department, there have been several cases of the Jury Administration scam locally. “So far, no one has fallen for it,” Klett said, as far as Police are aware.

A similar scam involves con artists posing as police. “They tell them they need to bail out a relative,” Klett said, adding that Berlin has seen several cases of this scam.

According Kelly, you can always verify a police officer’s identity by calling the barracks. “Bail money is never accepted over the phone, not from our agency,” Kelly said.

According to First Selectman of North Haven Michael Freda, the most deplorable thing about these scams is that they often target the elderly. “We are aware of these scams,” said Freda, who praised the local police efforts to combat con artists. “I have a message for scammers,” Freda said, “We will find you... and it will be a very unpleasant experience.”

Lieutenant Eric Peterson of Plainville agreed that in the scam cases he knows of, a high percentage of those targeted are the elderly. The Plainville Police Department haven’t encountered the Jury Administration scam or the bail money scam yet, “But I’m sure they’re coming,” Peterson said.

A popular scam in Plainville right now, according to Petersen, involves a fake call from the electric company.

According to police, if someone is demanding money over the phone or by email, it is good to call the listed, official number of the organization to verify the charges.



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