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Tampa Citizen Almost Falls Victim to Jury Duty Hoax



Tampa Resident's Brush with Jury Duty Hoax

Last Friday, while Joey Rosati was navigating the aisles of Costco, his iPhone’s spam filter failed to deter an incoming call. With a 727 area code and a seemingly authentic deputy’s name and badge number, the call demanded attention.

“‘Sir, just wanted to let you know, this is a courtesy phone call from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. I am a deputy here down at the office,’” Rosati recounted, noting the caller’s introduction and address disclosure.

Rosati, taken aback, found himself in an unexpected role reversal, anticipating that his parents or grandparents would be the usual targets of such schemes. However, it was he who received the alarming news of a missed jury duty summons, coupled with urgent instructions to visit the sheriff’s office.

“In the back of my mind, I’m thinking,” Rosati pondered. “‘Why would a scammer direct me to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office?’”

As Rosati delved deeper, his apprehension intensified, prompting further inquiry and a racing heart.

“They said I had two charges,” Rosati recounted. “Failure to appear and contempt of court. So I asked for the judge’s name. Typed it in, local judge. Dang.”

It was only when Rosati mentioned his proximity to the sheriff’s office that the deceitful deputy transferred him to another individual.

“They said, ‘Well, actually, you have to go to a different location to pay two fines for what you’ve done,’” Rosati disclosed. “And that’s when they lost me.”

In a sudden realization, Rosati understood that he had become ensnared in a scheme.

“There’s been a recent uptick in reports of this scheme,” Attorney General Ashley Moody disclosed. “I’ve heard personally from many Floridians who’ve received calls from imposters, posing as court officials, claiming they missed jury duty.”

Moody’s warning echoed the nature of the scam Rosati encountered.

Payment will never be demanded over the phone,” Moody emphasized. “A fine will never be imposed until after an individual has appeared in court to explain a failure to appear.”

Despite unsuccessful attempts to reach the same number, a subsequent call from an Orlando number corroborated Rosati’s experience. However, the call ended abruptly after identification and explanation.

Though Rosati emerged unscathed financially and legally, he sought to spread awareness through viral posts on X.

“I think that’s the whole reason why it went viral,” Rosati reflected. “Everyone’s expecting your grandmother, maybe your mother to fall for this. Not you.” Reported by TFLA.

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