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May 29, 2014

BISMARCK – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is warning area residents of a jury duty scam.  The area is seeing a rash of con artists calling Bismarck area residents, claiming they are with the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Office, and threatening people with false accusations that they did not appear in court for jury duty and now will go to jail, if they don’t pay fines.  The victims typically are told to obtain two separate Green Dot Money Pak cards from CVS Pharmacies in amounts less than $500 each.

The Burleigh County Sheriff and the Attorney General’s Office have received many calls from concerned citizens.  According to Stenehjem, there has been at least one elderly victim who paid $1,000. 

“The Burleigh County Sheriff or any other law enforcement agency would never call our citizens and threaten them with arrest for missing jury duty, or attempt to extract fines from them,” Stenehjem said.  “While the individuals contacted have not missed jury duty, even if they did the Court would always allow an opportunity to explain any missed jury date and would never use these heavy-handed tactics of claims of jail and fines.”

According to Parrell Grossman, Director of the Consumer Protection Division, consumers should not focus on calls from the Burleigh County Sheriff.  “This is a common scam and while today the calls reference Burleigh County, next week the fraudulent calls just as likely will claim to come from Cass, Grand Forks, Ward, or any other county.

Consumers do not need to report these calls to the Burleigh County Sheriff or the Attorney General, if they have not lost money as a victim. However, if consumers have questions about this scam or other scams they should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 701-328-3404 or toll-free at 1-800-472-2600.

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