118th officials warn of telephone scam

Officials with the 118th District Court are warning area residents of a telephone scam where con artists are claiming to be collecting fines from locals who allegedly owe fins for missing jury duty.According to 118th District Judge Timothy Yeats, his office was recently made aware of the scam, which is targeting local residents.“Reports have been received concerning a telephone scam operation regarding payment of fines for missing jury duty,” Yeats said. “ Someone is apparently calling citizens and informing them that they have missed a call for jury duty and demanding the citizen pay a fine or provide certain financial information in order to avoid a warrant being issued for their arrest.”Yeats said the calls are in no way related to or authorized by the court or its officers.“I want to make it clear that this Court, as well as law enforcement, will never request personal financial information over the telephone,” Yeats said. “If you have missed jury duty, it is possible that someone from the sheriff’s office may visit you in person and bring you to court. However, no one will ever call and ask or demand that you pay a fine. Do not, under any circumstances, provide bank or credit card information to anyone over the telephone.”In the meantime, Yeats encourages anyone receiving such a call to contact law enforcement.“If you have received such a call, please contact the Howard County Sheriff’s Office immediately,” he said.Reports of the scam come weeks after Yeats issued a warning to Howard County residents to heed jury summons, as turnouts for jury pools had become week, at best, during the summer months.For more information on jury summons, contact the 118th District Judge's Office at 432-264-2225.