Last year was a difficult one for those who believe individuals’ privacy rights are too often violated. Revelations by Edward Snowden about the scope of NSA spying raised the issue of whether the agency was infringing upon the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens. Computer servers belonging to some major American banks were hacked causing account holders to worry about whether anyone had procured their account information. And recently those customers of Target department stores who used their credit or debit cards for purchases made at their stores may had their credit card information stolen.
Now there is reason to worry that unscrupulous individuals are posing as court officials to get certain personal information from people on jury lists. United States law prohibits court officials from requesting certain confidential information over the telephone from citizens such as addresses, social security numbers or credit card information. Unfortunately, it has been reported that New Mexico residents have received phone calls from people claiming to be court officials telling them that they have missed a date to appear for jury service. The people that have received these calls also have been asked to provide confidential information. It appears that those who are calling these residents are seeking to fraudulently obtain information about people so that they could use this information for illegal purposes such as using someone’s credit card or banking information.
Clerks of federal courts can only procure certain information from prospective jurors via the United States mail. The prohibition against phone calls seeking to extract this information derives exactly from the fear that someone could try such a scam. As the goal of the judiciary to ensure that American citizens fairly participate as jurors in their localities without fear, the courts have a strong interest in finding out who may be perpetrating the scam and apprehending any such offender.
The federal courts have issued notices reaffirming that it is against the law for anyone to try to impersonate a court official over the phone. They urge any possible victims to contact the clerk of their local federal court if this occurs.
The attorneys at Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. represent individuals involved in a variety of legal matters in New Mexico. Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. is located at 10400 Academy Road N.E., Suite 350 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Call the office at (505) 633-6298 to set up an appointment or visit the firm’s website at giddenslaw.com