July 21, 2018

Erath County officials: We aren’t looking for you for missing jury duty

dclerkBy JESSIE HORTON & RUSSELL HUFFMAN

TheFlashToday.com

TIP: If you miss jury duty in Erath County, there won’t be a warrant put out for your arrest, county officials won’t call you and they WILL NOT ask for bank information or identifying personal information over the phone to take a payment for the so-called warrant.

Erath County District Clerk Wanda Pringle spoke with The Flash this week and issued a warning to residents of a potential dangerous scam going around the area. She said her office received a number of phone calls about people making contact with residents using this ruse. Residents have reported seeing a caller ID with “warrant service” in the title, apparently even Erath Warrant Service.

“Erath County would never use this method or format to locate or contact anyone in our area,” Pringle said. “And we do not issue warrants if a resident misses jury duty for the first time.”

While some of this residents were not asked for money, most were contacted and told there would be a warrant issued for their arrest if they did not provide payment information to take care of the fine issued due to the missed jury duty.

“We don’t call people on the phone when there is a problem with someone not reporting for jury duty,” Pringle said. “If it were to escalate to the level of an offense (a rarity according to Pringle) then Erath County Sheriff’s deputies would more than likely make contact with an individual.”

Pringle explained deputies would then make a determination as to what happens next as they check to see if a person was sick, has moved or has some valid reason for not reporting. Fines for ignoring one’s civil service can cost $100 per day, but no governmental source is calling people to tell them they have a warrant for failing to come to jury duty.

“We very rarely have a problem.” Pringle said “And we are not calling people like what has been going on here.”

At least one area resident is reported to have fallen for the scam, which called for him to put $400 on a “rechargeable card” or “green spot” and mail it in. Sending the card was supposed to clear the man of the charge against him.

County officials say the fact the man actually fell victim to the scam is probably good news for law enforcement investigators because they have a trail to follow.

Pringle and other county officials ask residents to not give out any information to unidentified callers and to contact her office if they have been a victim of this scam. They also ask that residents help spread the word to others in the area. For more information, contact Pringle at (254) 965-1486.

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