Utah Supreme Court warns of jury duty fraud

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Supreme Court is warning people across the state to be looking for a sophisticated scheme that deceives people with thousands of dollars.

Chad Schaeffer, who lives in Salt Lake City, is one of many victims. He said a man who claimed to belong to the Unified Police Department was called in for a fine for failing to serve as a jury.

“The number increased and it said Unified Sheriff’s Department,” said Schaeffer. “You know he identified himself, he told me his badge number … I forgot the name he used. I think it was like Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump! “

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The fake cop finally convinced Schaeffer to buy $ 5,700 in prepaid gift cards from a local 7-Eleven store.

“All the savings in my life are gone,” said Schaeffer. “To be honest, I felt violated. You know, it wasn’t the money. It was the fact that someone cheated on me. “

Schaeffer said the man on the other end of the line spoke perfect English and knew his address. He said he believed he could not pay the fine at the police station due to the COVID-19 protocols.

“I just kept asking questions and he was giving me answers,” said Schaeffer. “The answers made sense to me.”

In an interview with FOX 13, Sheriff Rosie Rivera said that these types of scams are of particular concern because they are difficult to investigate.

“Sometimes they have a radio on in the background, and it looks real!” Rivera said. “We had many victims who fell for this – for several thousand dollars.”

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Rivera said the scam is especially common on holidays.

Your recommendation is to hang up and call the (real) police immediately if you suspect you may be the victim.

According to the Utah Supreme Court, “communication from the jury service is usually done by mail” and the officers will never contact anyone about not attending.