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Jury Duty Text Messaging Scam Targeting Texomans

<P>Jury service is not a choice.</P> <P>It is a civic duty and as Mechell Dixon found, out thieves are trying to capitalize on that responsibility and scam you.</P> <P></P> <P></P>
According to the Better Business Bureau, a jury duty text messaging scam started surfacing last month then it died down.

Now, it's making a comeback.

And court officials say it's using a potential joke that could harm the justice system.

This message sounds official but officials with the Better Business Bureau say it is not.

And it's getting around via cell phone.

"Saying they could face a $500 fine since they missed jury duty. Either pay the fine or do jail time and there's usually a number for them to call back. The phone number, when you call it back, typically starts asking for personal information. They obviously want you to pay that $500 fine," says Monica Horton, president of the Better Business Bureau of North Central Texas

Horton says although this scam sounds convincing the end of the message shows it is fake.

"Rather than a $500 fine or a 30 day prison sentence, you may instead choose to pay it forward and simply pass this phone number on to your 10 most gullible friends in an attempt to trick them into thinking this is actually a real failure to appear for jury duty notification," says the recording from HumorHotline.com.

Because this message pokes fun at the importance of jury service it has the Wichita County District Clerk upset.

"It's the only way our system works cause you are entitled to a trial by jury. So, we need those jurors to show up," says Wichita Count District Clerk Patti Flores.

Flores says in any given jury week, between 50 and 100 people fail to show up for jury duty, but she says a letter from the presiding judge is how folks are informed to call the clerks office and arrange to serve at a later date; not through a text message.

Better Business Bureau officials say they've been told that victims who call the provided number are having that text message sent to contacts in their cell phones, without them actually sending it themselves.

So, the BBB is not sure if the goal of the scam is to steal your money, your personal information or or get you to unknowingly accept a third party charge on your cell with HumorHotline.com.

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