Suncoast woman scammed for "missing jury duty"

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Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 10:06 pm

SARASOTA COUNTY, FLA   An Eastern Sarasota County woman says she fell victim to a phone scam. Grace Kaufman says a man called saying she missed jury duty and owed over $1300.

"I got so scared about it because they said they could send the deputy out and arrest me if I didn't do any of this stuff, and they stayed on my cell phone in case I get stopped by a deputy, and he could tell them what was going on so they wouldn't arrest me, see I was so dumb?" she said.

So the scam artist stayed on the phone with her as she drove to the store and bought $600 dollars in pre-paid cards that offer same day payments. It's all she could afford.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office Media Relations Liaison Dave Bristow says they've received several calls lately about the scam, but this is the first case in which someone fell for it.

"What they do is make thousands of calls and out of those calls if they can get 3-4 who pay the money, that makes it worthwhile for them and they just keep doing it in different parts of the country," Bristow explained.

Bristow says it's hard to find the bad guys since they use disposable phones that are hard to trace.

"I hope other people don't fall for this, because I thought I was pretty skeptical, but i fell for this one," Kaufman said.

Kaufman said she asked the scammer why Manatee County would be calling her if she lived in Sarasota County. The man told her that Manatee County handled the fines for missed jury duty.

Making matters more confusing, Kaufman says she was recently called for jury duty but asked to be excused for health reasons.

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