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Tuesday, Mar 04 2014 03:54 PM

Courts report phone scam about jury duty

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County Superior Court at Truxtun and Chester avenues in downtown Bakersfield.

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BY RUTH BROWN Californian staff writer rbrown@bakersfield.com

Kern County residents should think twice before paying fines for missing jury duty.

Officials from Kern County's Superior Court warned residents Tuesday of an ongoing phone scam in the area.

Complaints center around a caller claiming residents have been fined for missing jury duty. The caller tells victims there is a warrant for their arrest for failing to appear.

The scam artist warns residents they will be arrested if they come to the county's jury office and instead instructs them to go to a CVS, Walgreens or Walmart store and set up a prepaid card to submit as payment. Victims are also reportedly asked for personal information such as social security numbers and birth dates.

Six people have reported the scam since Monday, said Terry McNally, Kern County Superior Court Executive and Jury Commissioner.

McNally said it would be rare for a citizen to receive a call from the court because it works almost exclusively through the mail.

"And never, ever give out personal information," McNally said. "We would not ask for it as a court."

He said residents can call the Jury Services Department at 868-4700 to confirm if they have missed jury duty.

Residents receiving these calls should report it to the Bakersfield Police at 327-7111 or the Kern County Sheriff's Office at 661-861-3110.

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