Court officials warn of scam

Fake jury summons questionnaires seek personal information

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Court officials across the state are warning residents about a potential scam in which fraudulent jury questionnaires are being used to obtain the personal information of respondents.

The Colorado Judicial Branch's State Court Admin-istrator's Office in Denver has been notified that fake jury summons questionnaires have been appearing in Colorado mailboxes. The questionnaires ask for people's Social Security numbers, addresses and hours of employment. Residents also are being contacted by phone and asked to reveal personal information by callers claiming to be jury commissioners.

Tracey Epley, Routt County's court clerk and jury commissioner, said she has not heard any reports of fake questionnaires arriving in Routt County mailboxes or anywhere else within the 14th Judicial District. But she and 14th Judicial District court administrator Evan Herman said residents in Grand, Routt and Moffat counties need to be alert.

"I'm fairly certain no one in our district has been contacted, but we urge folks to be aware it has occurred elsewhere and to be on the lookout for it," Herman said.

Epley said jury commissioners never contact potential jurors by mail or telephone to acquire or verify identification information.

"We call no one. We make no personal contact. There is no reason for a jury commissioner to contact someone," she said. "The only reason we would ever have to contact someone would be if they left us a message about something."

The State Court Admin-istrator's Office advises residents contacted by phone or mail by someone claiming to be a jury commissioner to obtain as much information as possible from the caller and report it to local law enforcement agencies.

State Court Administrator Jerry Marroney is concerned about reports of a scam involving the judicial system.

"The jury system is a critical element of Colorado's judicial process, so we want to make sure that no portion of the process is being compromised," he said. "We are very concerned to hear that someone is apparently using the process to gain access to personal identifying information."

Epley said Routt County residents selected for jury duty usually are contacted four weeks before the scheduled start of a County Court or District Court trial. Residents are mailed a summons questionnaire, but it does not ask for personal information. The questionnaire should be completed at the courthouse.

Residents who think they have received a fake summons questionnaire or who have been contacted by someone claiming to be a jury commissioner should call the Routt County Courthouse to report the incident. They also should call police.

All types of identity theft are occurring at alarming rates across the nation, state and Routt County. Several scams have been reported in recent months to the Steamboat Springs Police Department and Routt County Sheriff's Office. In the scams, residents are asked to reveal personal information or send money to illegitimate charities.Both agencies encourage residents to report any potential scam or call that is suspicious.

Colorado judicial Web site: www.courts.state....

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