According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, scammers posing as Harris County personnel recently used a cloned phone number to call an unsuspecting victim. They informed the victim that they had failed to appear for jury duty and would have to pay a fine to cleanse their name.
This is not how jury summons work, but some (if not most) Houstonians are unaware of the intricacies of jury service and may fall for the con.
Any official correspondence regarding jury duty will be mailed to you. It is unknown whether the victim in the recent case paid any money to the scammers.
This is the most recent method employed by scammers to target victims in Houston, though it has been employed in the past.
Other methods, such as impersonating a police officer, are used by thieves to get gift cards from unsuspecting targets. After purchasing a gift card, the victims are urged to give it to the scammers or read the card number over the phone.
Another way they target Houstonians is through a dating scam, in which scammers act as lovers on dating apps and ask their victims for money.
Stop and move away if you notice any of these tactics. You’re most likely being duped.
They contacted you
When you call a company, you know who is on the other end of the line. However, if someone calls you first, you can’t be sure they’re telling the truth. You have no idea if they are who they claim to be. Also, keep in mind that email addresses and caller ID information might be forged.
They dangle bait—usual money
Let’s face it: people don’t give significant quantities of money out lightly. If someone offers you a big prize, a shopping spree, or an easy loan for nothing, they’re usually lying.
They want your personal information
You should be wary of anyone who requests your personal information – bank accounts, social security numbers, etc. Give it out slowly and carefully, especially to someone you don’t know. You could be a victim of identity theft.
You have to pay them first
If you are offered a prize, debt relief, or job but must first, pay an advance charge to obtain it, you are most likely being scammed.