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Authorities report missed jury duty scam

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Local law enforcement agencies are warning area residents of a telephone scam, where the victims are threatened with arrest if they don’t send the caller money via a pre-paid card.

Both the Greenville Police Department and the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office have received reports of the scam, which involves a fake warrant officer calling about missed jury duty.

Sheriff Randy Meeks said his office began receiving reports of the scam during the weekend. The caller identifies himself as a warrant officer with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office, informs the victim they had failed to show up for a jury summons and that a warrant has been issued for their arrest.

The caller then tells the victim that if they will go to local store, purchase a “Green Dot” card and send the amount of money requested within two hours that they will not be arrested.

“One victim called me on Saturday and stated that the person said that he was Kenneth Jones with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and that he owed $495 for failing to show up for a jury summons and needed to send the money within two hours to prevent his arrest,” Meeks said.

“I informed the victim not to send any money and I called the number that the victim was given. I do not have a deputy by that name. The second victim was the same, with the exception of the amount of money and this caller was named Deputy Bryant Owens. Again, I do not have a deputy by that name.”

Greenville Police Chief Daniel Busken said he received a report of similar calls being made Monday and Tuesday.

Meeks and Busken advised their offices not operate in that manner concerning individuals who do have outstanding warrants.

No actual deputy or police officer will contact members of the public by telephone demanding money or other forms of payment for missing jury duty.

Anyone receiving a similar call is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at 903-453-6800 or the Greenville Police Department at 903-457-2900.

“I have zero tolerance for people who try to scam honest citizens out of their hard earned money,” Meeks said.

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