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Don’t be bullied by jury duty scam

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By The Staff

Well, they are at it again; criminals have developed another way to try to get your personal information. This scam, which is making the rounds again, works by the criminal calling an unsuspecting victim. That caller claims to be a jury coordinator, making you think you missed a jury summons.

If you protest, telling the caller you never received a jury summons, the caller asks for your Social Security number and date of birth so he can “cancel the arrest warrant” that he infers may be issued for your arrest because you failed to answer for jury duty.

This scam is particularly insidious because the caller uses intimidation over the phone to bully people into giving their personal information, pretending to be with the court system. According to the e-mail I was sent, this scam has been reported in 11 states; I have not been told about this scam occurring in Marion County, yet.

I contacted the jury coordinators at our courthouse in Ocala. I was told that our local court does not ask for personal information, with the exception of your year of birth. They will not ask for your Social Security number or any information that could be used to steal your identity.

As far as the threat of arrest for not answering the summons, I was told that in most cases if you failed to respond or did respond with a reasonable explanation you can be rescheduled. The office, in most cases, handles the issue in this way. The issuance of some type of arrest warrant is very uncommon, and if issued the penalty is a fine.

The local contact number for jury summons is 671-5581. If you do receive a call from someone claiming to be a jury coordinator and have any questions, please call the number I have provided or call the Southwest District at 402-6060 and we will assist you.

Remember, do not give out your personal information to unknown callers on the phone.

Capt. Jim Burton is the commander of the Sheriff’s Southwest District office, 9048 S. W. Hwy. 200. For more information, call 402-6060.

Sheriff’s Office Receives

Certificate of Accreditation

In November 2008, a Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation (CFA) assessment team of three members visited the Sheriff’s Office to review our policies and procedures, management, operations and support services. During their onsite visit, the assessment team evaluated the compliance of approximately 250 standards.

At the conclusion of its visit, the team submitted a report to the commission, recommending us for reaccreditation.

On Feb. 25, Sheriff Ed Dean went before the CFA to receive a certificate of accreditation. This certification is valid for three years.

Verification by the team that MCSO meets the commission’s standards is part of a voluntary process to gain or maintain accreditation – a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence. MCSO has been accredited since 1989 and accredited through CFA since 1996.

We look forward to our continued service to Marion County by always “putting citizens first.”