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Officials: Beware of jury scam

COVINGTON - Authorities want people to be aware of a new type of scam that is targeting Newton County residents.

In recent days, the Newton County Superior Court Clerk's Office has received calls from people who reported that someone claiming to work for their office called them after business hours and informed them that a bench warrant had been issued for their arrest because they failed to appear for a jury summons.

The subject, posing as a clerk's office employee, then tries to illicit personal information from the victim and asks them to leave their home to pay the fine for missing the court date, Newton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Bill Watterson said.

No fraud or any other type of crime has yet to be reported as a result of this scam.

"We're not exactly sure what kind of fraud they are trying to commit here, but this is not the clerks's office calling and no one should ever give out their personal information," Watterson said.

The NCSO spokesman said that if an employee from the clerk's office does call, it would be to inform about a court date being set or canceled. Furthermore, if someone didn't show for a jury summons, Watterson said that person would be brought before a judge for an explanation and that a bench warrant would not be issued.

"They don't necessarily issue jury summons bench warrants because of problems with the mail and people changing their addresses," he said.

Though they have not directly received a complaint, Watterson said the NCSO will be investigating the case and encourages those who are a victim of fraud stemming from this or any other scam to notify law enforcement.

Superior Court Clerk Linda Hays also asks that anyone with questions or concerns about this scam to call her office at 770-784-2035.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.