Marion police warn of jury duty scam

The Marion Police Department has received reports from local citizens who have been contacted by phone by an individual claiming to be affiliated with Marion Municipal Court. The scammer claims to be with the court, even mentioning Judge Ballinger by name, and falsely states that the person being called has failed to appear for jury duty.

To remedy this situation, the scammer tells the person that to avoid going to jail, they must go purchase money cards and provide the numbers over the phone. The scammer will often times try to keep the caller on the phone while this task is performed.

“We frequently remind our residents that it is never a good idea to give personal or financial information over the phone” said Lt. B.J. Gruber of the Marion Police Department. “These scam artists prey on people using high pressure tactics and the false threat of jail. We would remind our community that legitimate businesses or government agencies do not conduct business in this fashion.”

Police say if you are unsure that the person calling you on the phone is actually who they claim to be, the first thing you should do is not panic.

“Where these guys often succeed is when they put the victim in a position to eliminate their life lines such as a call to a trusted family member and so forth,” said Lt. Gruber.

“I have spoken with several people on the phone in my twenty plus years and from time to time, people will think it is a prank or a practical joke,” explained Lt. Gruber. “I have never had a problem with that person politely disconnecting the phone and calling me back through the known MPD phone number.”

Lt. Gruber offered the following tips:

  • A simple Google search or phone directory should suffice to provide the actual contact number for the legitimate business.
  • Never succumb to intense pressure in any dealing over the phone.
  • Work to disconnect from the line and then take steps to contact the actual agency that the person claims to represent.

If you have any concerns or questions through this process, residents are encouraged to call the Marion Police Department or their local law enforcement agency.

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