HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Investigators have pinpointed the source of those jury duty scam phone calls some coast residents have been getting. The good news is the scammers are already behind bars. The bad news is the calls are coming from inmates in Georgia.
The scammers typically follow the same script: Someone calls your home and says you've failed to report for jury duty. The caller claims to work for the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and threatens to arrest you.
Harrison County Circuit Clerk Connie Ladner said the callers then direct residents to go to a local store and purchase a "green dot card," which is a brand of pre-paid debit card. When they call the resident back, they're instructed to read the numbers from the card over the phone, which enables the scammer to immediately remove the money from the card.
Of course, a real sheriff's deputy, or any public official, would never call with a request like this. But sometimes people get scared and comply anyway.
After residents started reporting the calls to authorities, the real Harrison County investigators were able to pinpoint the source: inmates at Jimmy Autry State Prison in Pelham, Georgia. Harrison County investigators have contacted authorities there about the inmate scam.
Sheriff Peterson asks if you receive one of these phone calls to contact the Harrison County Criminal Investigation Division at (228) 896-0678. Any questions about jury duty can always be answered by folks at the Circuit Clerk's Office. That number is (228) 865-4005.