N4T Investigators: Jury duty scam hitting Arizona again - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Jury duty scam hitting Arizona again

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TUCSON - Don Ledbetter was concerned.

The 64-year old Tucson businessman received a call on Jan. 13 from a man saying he was a Sheriff's Department lieutenant, threatening to arrest him for missing jury duty unless he wired him $1,000 for two "outstanding warrants."

"He had my attention," Ledbetter told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "because of the fact that he says I missed jury duty and I had just received a notice for jury duty a few months prior. He said I had to do it today or they would send a sheriff to my house to apprehend me."

It's the old "jury duty" scam but people are still falling for it. A 42-year-old Prescott man recently lost $3,000 after sending pre-paid debit cards to a scammer. Don wasn't home when the guy called but saved his message and played it for us.

"Hi, this is Lieutenant William Brown with the Pima County Sheriff's Office," the scammer began. "Trying to contact Don Ledbetter. This is an official call and an urgent matter pertaining him. My callback number 520*******. Again, that's 520-*******Thank you."

Don called him back right away. "It was like he was reading a script, with a lot of legal terms, law enforcement terms. He's giving me docket numbers to write down, that I've got to follow up on this," Don said. 

After listening for a while, Don knew it was a scam. He was suspicious because he hadn't missed jury duty, and the call came on a Saturday. But he played along. When he asked the so-called "lieutenant" for his direct extension at the sheriff's department so he could call him there, the guy hung up.

Don said, "It definitely gets your attention. And I can see if somebody is naive or older, that it would absolutely get their attention. Particularly like myself, if you just received a jury notice a few months prior, you start second-guessing yourself."

We called the number that the scammer left with Ledbetter. A woman's voice told us to leave a message. We didn't bother, knowing they wouldn't call us back.

Marissa Hernandez of the Pima County Sheriff's Department says the scammer impersonating a deputy "is pretty upsetting. It's also something that we've seen an influx in lately, and something that's pretty common."

The Sheriff's Department never calls anyone who misses jury duty, much less threatens them. They send a letter in the mail. Her advice to residents: "If they receive a call that they feel is suspicious, suspicious in any nature, they should hang up. They could make a report to the sheriff's department and then write down the number in which they received the phone call from."

Don Ledbetter says people who try to steal money this way, "Clearly have no conscience. You hope that karma comes around at some point."

Again, if you get one of these jury scam calls, try to write down the phone number, then hang up and report it to the sheriff's department. It's very tough for law enforcement to find the scammers because they almost always are overseas, using spoofed or fake)phone numbers.

You can also report or search for any scam on the better business bureau's scam tracker web site.

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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