West Valley man warns of scam involving jury duty

Published: Friday, Feb. 14 2014 2:53 p.m. MST

Layne Wilson of West Valley City got a call Thursday, Feb. 14, 2014, asking him to pay a fine for failing to report for jury duty. He knew it was a scam and wanted to warn others. The call came from someone pretending to be a sheriff named Lt. Jeff Stevens.

Michael Radice, Deseret News

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WEST VALLEY CITY — A West Valley City man is sending out a warning about a phone scam.

Layne Wilson says he got a call on his home phone on Thursday from a man claiming to be a police officer named Lt. Jeff Stevens.

“He gave me a badge number. He gave me a phone number,” Wilson said.

The caller informed him he had failed to report for jury duty and would need to pay a $500 fine. To make the payment, he would need to go to www.green.moneypak.com.

“If I didn’t pay the fine, then I’d be arrested right then and there,” Wilson said he was told.

Confused, Wilson asked for the location of the courthouse, and the caller gave him an address far from his West Valley City home.

“I thought, ‘Why would Millard County be wanting me?’” Wilson said.

Wilson said he knew it was a scam. “I told him, 'I think you’re a phony,'” he recalled, and the caller became angry.

“He said, ‘How dare you insult me,’” Wilson said.

Wilson's money is safe, but he was worried about other potential victims, so he reported the call to West Valley police.

“If you are getting a phone call and someone is saying that they are from a law enforcement agency, from the courts, and they are asking for money, that's going to be your first indication that something probably isn’t quite right,” said West Valley Assistant Police Chief Mike Powell.

The courts almost always communicate using regular mail, he said, adding a caution that people should never give out personal information to someone they don't know.

It's not the first time a scam like this has been reported to the department. If someone receives a call like this, they are urged to contact their local law enforcement agencies, so they can warn others.

“You have to be on the defensive,” Wilson said. “You can’t be too careful nowadays.”

Email: ddolan@deseretnews.com

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