A warning tonight about a jury duty scam targeting people over the phone. The caller claims to be from the office of a local judge 0and threatens jail time because you failed to pay fines.
There is a special bond between a judge and jury dating back to the dawn of American justice - and it's one that Wayne County Chief Judge Robert Colombo, Jr. holds scared.
"The right to a trial by jury is so important that it appears in two places in the Constitution," Colombo said last year to potential jurors about the importance of showing up and doing your civil duty. "When they are stopped for their next traffic offense, they will be arrested."
So when someone attempts to use that fear for a scam that is when the judge has no tolerance.
"I was appalled that someone would be taking advantage of our citizens." Colombo said.
Here's how the scam works, you get a phone call informing you that you missed jury duty and you need to pay now or go to jail. That part is nothing new.
"Since I've been the chief judge and that is the beginning of 2014, we've heard about it a couple times," Colombo said. "Before I was the chief judge I heard about it in some different counties and it's been going on for a number of years."
But the caller says he's from Judge Colombo's office.
"I never heard them use my name before, that's new," he said.
While it is true that you risk jail time by not showing up for jury duty, the money part is the scam.
"This would never happen. No one from the court would ever call someone and tell that citizen they missed jury duty, that a warrant was being issued for their arrest unless they paid a sum of money," Colombo said.
And the judge says jail time is a last resort.
"They are given an order to come down to court and explain the situation," he said. "They would never get a phone call like the one we are talking about."
So what do you do if you get the call? His honor says get their name, number, and address of where they want the check mailed and then call police.
That way the judge himself might get a crack at them.
"It would make my day," he said.