Bellefontaine court warns of jury duty scam

Bellefontaine Municipal Court leaders are warning residents about a possible jury duty phone scam that at least one person reported.

A Logan County woman reported she received a phone call claiming she had missed jury duty, Bellefontaine Municipal Clerk of Courts Karla Stevens said. The caller told the woman she would be arrested unless she met with the him, Stevens said.

“He would help her through the legal process to avoid this warrant,” Stevens said the caller told the woman.

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When Stevens heard about the phone call, it reminded her of a notice she’d seen in Delaware County. The notice on the Delaware County Common Pleas Court website reads in part, “The scammer advises the victim since they failed to appear for jury duty, that a bench warrant has been issued and they have to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,700 in fines, license suspension, etc.”

Stevens said when she called the Delaware County Court, the clerk there told her the reports sounded similar. Stevens then posted a warning on the Bellefontaine Municipal Court website.

“I wanted them to know what it was about and not to meet anyone,” she said.

It’s important that people understand jury summons and other information regarding jury duty is always in writing, Bellefontaine Municipal Court Judge Anne Beck said.

“People who are called to jury duty, they serve a very important role in the justice system and we want them to be safe,” she said. “…We have to keep a record. So phone calls don’t work.”

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Anyone summoned for jury duty from the municipal court would receive a yellow card in the mail instructing when they have to appear in court, Stevens said.

But if anyone ever has questions about jury duty, she said they can call the municipal court at 937-599-6127.

Geneva Johnson owns The Mixing Bowl shop in downtown Bellefontaine. She’s not surprised to hear about the jury duty scam.

“People are sneaky,” she said.

Now when she receives calls from an unknown number, she doesn’t answer.

“Don’t give out information when they ask,” she said. “You’ve just got be aware of what’s going on.”

Anyone who receives a call that seems suspicious should call their local law enforcement officers, Stevens said.

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