CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Circuit Court is warning Cullman-area residents that a telephone scam concerning jury duty has occurred in Cullman, and other victims in the area may be targeted.
The one confirmed victim of the scam, a Cullman City Schools employee, received a phone call from what appeared to be a local number, from a person claiming to be Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. William Fisher, saying that she had failed to appear for jury duty and that Circuit Judge Gregory Nicholas had issued a warrant for her arrest. The call ended after “Sgt. Fisher” told her to wait for the police who were on their way to pick her up.
Fortunately for the victim, there happened to be a Cullman Police Department School Resource Officer at the school at the time, and he was able to determine what happened.
Nicholas told The Tribune, “That’s how the scam typically goes down, except that normally there’s not a school resource officer there that kind of intercedes. The way the jury scam typically runs: the person pretending to be a police officer with a warrant for the individual’s arrest will call back shortly thereafter, as the nervousness increases, obviously, for the individual who says they’re about to be hauled to jail. Anyway, they’ll call back; typically, they will ask for either money or bank account, or some other financial information or personal information that they can use to later steal the person’s identity.”
The victim did not receive a call back, but it was likely due to the police officer placing his own call back to the number from which the call originated.
Said Nicholas, “(The callback and subsequent identity theft) didn’t happen in this case, but I suspect that it’s not an isolated call that’s being made, and that the individual that called the (victim) probably is calling lots of other people as well.”
The judge advised, “Jury duty is important. People receiving summons for jury duty should report for jury duty as instructed, but I think the public needs to know that law enforcement and court staff will never call to ask for a Social Security number or any other private information over the telephone.”