Jury duty phone message threaten prison time

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WYFF) - People in the Upstate are being told in a phone message that they are facing time in prison for not showing up for jury duty.

But court officials said they're not the ones sending the message and it's unclear where the messages are coming from.

Kayla Vaughn said her father received a text message that said his name was in the paper for failing to appear in court and to call a number.

"That is scary, because it does sound very legit," Vaughn said.

When you call the number you hear a recording from someone claiming to be from the ‘National Justice Center' who says you failed to appear for jury duty last Monday.

The recording says: "To make arrangements to pay the $500 fine for failure to appear for jury duty press 2; to make arrangements to begin serving a 30-day prison sentence for failure to appear for jury duty press 3."

To avoid those punishments, there's a third option.

The recording continues: "You may choose to pay it forward and simply pass this phone number on to your top 10 most gullible friends and attempt to trick them into thinking this is actually a real failure to appear for jury duty notification in much the same way whoever gave you this number to call has apparently just tricked you."

Anderson County Clerk of Court Richard Shirley said many don't listen to the whole message, so they've been contacting his office worried they're in legal trouble.

"The wheels of justice do not use a telephone and don't use an Internet email address, we do things the old-fashioned way," Shirley said.

Shirley said they've heard from close to a dozen people concerned about the message.

"If you are summoned for jury duty and don't show up you won't get a phone call, you'll get a visit from a deputy sheriff who will have a bench warrant in his hand asking you to get your hat and coat and come on," Shirley assures them.

Shirley explained the only way he'll summon you for jury duty is through a letter.

That recording also says by pressing a number you can win prizes, like computers, an Xbox, even televisions. If you get this message, notify the Clerk's Office and alert authorities.

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