Jury duty crooks hit Buffalo County, demanding payment in gift cards | Local News

KEARNEY — Buffalo County residents are being extorted in a jury duty scam that seeks payment in gift cards to avoid arrest on a warrant.

Over the past few days, scammers have been calling residents claiming to be the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Deputy. The fake deputy tells the victim that there is a warrant for her arrest for not appearing as a juror.

The scammer then informs the victim that they can avoid arrest by paying a fine via gift cards or green points.

“They’re very persuasive and mean,” said Sheriff’s Office investigator Brandon Brueggemann. “No government agency will request payment in gift cards.”

When someone is called to serve as a juror, the court first sends them a questionnaire, which must be returned to the court, according to Cheryl Stabenow, assistant clerk of the Buffalo County District Court. The clerk will then determine, based on the answers to the questionnaire, if the person is eligible for jury duty.

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The resident then receives a letter from the court in the mail indicating the specific dates on which the person must appear as a juror. If a person does not show up as a juror, court staff will call them, Stabenow said, and ask the person to contact the court office.

The Federal Trade Commission outlines several tips for avoiding scams. These include:

– Block unwanted calls and SMS.

– Don’t give personal or financial information to a request you weren’t expecting.

– Resist the pressure to act immediately.

– Know how scammers tell you to pay, usually through wire transfer or gift cards,

– Stop and talk to someone you trust.

Anyone who wants to know if they missed jury duty can call the Buffalo County Court Office at 308-236-1228 or the District Court Office at 308-236-1246.

Michael N. Clark