Fake jury duty calls now using names of county employees

A phone scam telling residents they have missed jury duty and need to pay up has gotten more specific with the names of county employees.

Residents reported at least three phone calls Monday claiming to be from Maj. Jerry Pickett with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. The caller said the resident had missed jury duty, had a warrant for their arrest and would need to pay a fine using prepaid debit cards to avoid being arrested, according to the sheriff’s office.

In at least one of the calls, the resident reported the caller also had mentioned the name of a Johnson County judge.

The sheriff’s office has been getting reports of a jury duty scam for weeks, but the caller has done their homework this time to get the names of local employees, Sheriff Doug Cox said.

The calls are not coming from the sheriff’s office, and neither the police nor the courts will call someone to tell them they have a warrant and will not ask someone to make a payment over the phone to avoid being arrested, he said.

Calls were reported to police in Franklin and Whiteland and to the sheriff’s office.

In Whiteland, a local doctor reported getting a call at her office and became suspicious when the caller told her she would need to pay using prepaid debit cards and called police. The officer called the number back and the caller identified himself as Pickett with the sheriff’s office, but hung up when the officer identified himself, according to the police report.

Police still were investigating at least one call Monday afternoon. The sheriff’s office sent an alert to residents Monday to warn them of the scam, telling them to contact police if they got a suspicious call.

“Keep your hard earned money. When in doubt call your family, or your local law enforcement agency for advice,” the alert said.

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Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.