Madison County court workers warn people of jury duty scam

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -  Scammers are after your money again. This time, thieves are posing as law enforcement officers telling people if they don't pay up, they'll be in big trouble. So far, at least two people have fallen for this scam.

"The first question I asked is, did you give them any money? And she said, 'Yes, I gave them $900'," Madison County circuit court clerk  Debra Kizer said.

Ripped off and there was nearly nothing she could do about it. County clerk Debra Kizer was disheartened to meet the victim of the latest phone scam.

"The person sounded very authentic on the phone as a member of the sheriff's office," Madison County court magistrate Lee Leggett said. "Part of the scam was to keep them on the line."

Several people notified courthouse workers after they recently got phone calls from a person posing as a sheriff's deputy telling people they didn't show up for jury duty.

"You're being told you have to pay a fee or a fine for something you didn't do," Leggett said.

The supposed officer gives victims a name, rank and badge number. The thief then tells victims they can clear it all up in seconds if they pick up a gift card from CVS or Walmart and make a payment.

"It's very difficult, you're talking about information that's transmitted in a nanosecond," Leggett said.

Leggett and Kizer say the scammer is often a smooth talker, asking the victim to read off the numbers off a voucher or gift card over the phone. The person then tells the victim, if they come down to the courthouse and bring a receipt, they can get the money back. Court workers say that's a huge red flag, the clerk's office doesn't do business that way.

"If the court wants money from you, we're going to send you something in the mail," Kizer said.

Leggett says, fortunately, some of the victims took detailed notes of the conversation but she admits it's unlikely they'll ever catch the person who made the call.

The Madison County sheriffs office tells WHNT News 19 they'll never send out deputies for someone who missed jury duty. And if you have to pay a fine to the court, they don't take debit cards or vouchers, just cash, certified checks or money orders.