So-called jury scam surfacing in Collier County

Katie Jones

So-called jury scam surfacing in Collier County

CREATED May. 6, 2013 - UPDATED: May. 6, 2013

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.-  A prank has gone too far in Collier County. Officials with the Clerk of Circuit Court's office said a Collier County resident was sent an alarming text message last week.

"It told them that their name had been published in the newspaper for not showing up for jury duty."  Bob St. Cyr, Director, Community Outreach for the Collier County Clerk of the Circuit Court said.

"1ST of all we don't send out text messages and secondly we do not ever provide lists of jurors to a newspaper to be published." St. Cyr said.

The message lists a long distance number to call for more information. When FOX4 gave it a try, an urgent recording came on claiming to be from the National Justice Center. It explained the caller had failed to appear for jury duty and now faced a class 3 misdemeanor. Then came three options, pay a $500 fine, spend 30 days in prison, or pay it forward. Pass the number on to your most gullible friends, it was all a hoax. The prank has spread like wildfire.

"We googled the number they gave us from the text we found out this is a scam that's been going on in other states for quite sometime." St. Cyr said.
People from all over the country took to the internet with questions and concerns about those same seven digits. In a day and age where identities are taken and accounts are stolen all the time, has this tiny trick gone overboard?
"We just speculated perhaps it was a way of them making money or gathering personal information." St. Cyr said.
When it comes to stopping the pranksters, county officials said their hands are tied, there is no way to trace the number.