E-mails are still circulating nationwide warning people about identity thieves who pose as court officials to get personal information from potential jurors. But area courts seem to have a handle on the problem, officials say. By now, many people have heard about the “jury duty scam”: A person claiming to be a jury coordinator calls an unsuspecting person saying that he or she has failed to report for jury duty and a warrant has been issued for his or her arrest. When the victim protests, saying the summons was never received, the caller then asks for identifying information, such as a Social Security number, date of birth or driver license number. The catch is, says Sonia Bustos, Alhambra courthouse’s district jury coordinator, no one from the court system would ever ask for that type of information. “I’ve been here for more than 23 years, and I know that we’re not asking jurors for identifying information,” she said. “At no time do we need that information.” The jury duty scam first came to the attention of Gloria Gomez, director of the juror services division for Los Angeles Superior Court, when she read about it in the National Center for State Courts’ jury bulletin about two years ago. As far as California is concerned, the problem first appeared in Riverside County, she said. Since that time, Gomez said, only about 12 L.A.-area residents have alerted the courts of such a problem. Fortunately, she said, none of those people actually gave the scammers any personal information. “Perhaps most of our jurors either got the word or were fortunate enough not to be at home \, but those citizens were not victimized,” Gomez said. This may be because, locally and statewide, residents have been duly warned about the jury-duty scam. The Superior Court of California and the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Web sites both carry messages to potential jurors, asking them never to provide any identifying information to anyone claiming to be from the courts. In September 2005, the FBI issued a warning about telephone fraud involving jury duty. In addition, the phone number L.A. County residents call to report for jury service has a recorded message about the scam, as does each jury summons sent out. Bustos said she has even incorporated such warnings into her juror orientation. She also asks if anyone has received suspicious calls. “We haven’t had anyone say they’ve had this problem so far,” she said. Gomez said she believes potential jurors make good targets for scammers because citizens understand what an important obligation jury duty is. “People take jury service very seriously,” she said. “When \ they were a recipient of such a summons and will be charged with a fine or, worse yet, jail, that person is going to be surprised.” But both Gomez and Bustos are confident that local court system has the jury-duty scam under control. “I don’t think there should be any problem with that, because we’re on guard,” Bustos said. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!