PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is warning Rhode Islanders about an aggressive scam in which people are threatened with imminent arrest for failure to appear for jury duty.
The scam artist claims to be from a local county sheriff's office and uses personal information about the individual, including name and address. The caller offers the recipient the opportunity to avoid the arrest and post bail by paying with a credit card. "Scam artists often use information that is readily available on the internet, like your name, address and phone number, to give the perception they are legitimate and to heighten the fear of their victims that an arrest is imminent," Kilmartin said. "It is despicable and it is illegal." The scam artist often appears to be calling from a phone number from a local area code. Kilmartin's office received complaints that the caller gets aggressive and threatening when questioned about the claims, often saying they will arrive at the recipient's home shortly to make an arrest. "While it is more likely than not this scam is being operated outside Rhode Island, the quickest way to stop it from spreading is to be aware of their tactics and inform law enforcement," Kilmartin said. "If you are contacted by this outfit, get the name and the phone number of the person calling, make note of who they allegedly work for, and then hang up and contact your local police." The Jury Commissioner's Office for the Rhode Island Superior Court does not issue arrest warrants for people who fail to appear to jury duty. Additionally, no law enforcement agency in Rhode Island will give individuals a chance to post bail by credit card over the phone to avoid arrest. Kilmartin urged anyone receiving a similar phone call or threat to report the incident to their local police department.