Smith County investigators said a jury scam that operated earlier this year has returned.

Victims were being scammed out of cash by telephone by someone claiming to be with law enforcement and that the victims owed fines for not showing up for jury duty in Smith County.

Sheriff Larry Smith said the latest report came from a Smith County woman who did not comply with the scammer's request.

"The woman called her daughter, who in turn called me," Smith said. "I am glad that this lady was not taken by the scammer, but unfortunately others have been. We've connected the individuals who are perpetrating the scam to prison inmates in Georgia and New York, and some arrests were made last week, but we're working with law enforcement agencies in those states to continue the investigation."

 Smith said the scam begins when an individual purporting to be with the Smith County Sheriff's Office contacts individuals claiming they owed fines for missing jury duty.

"This person is not connected to the Sheriff's Office," he said. 

 In January, a man contacted an individual in the Whitehouse area saying that he owed a fine for missing jury duty. He instructed the individual to go to a local pharmacy and buy a pre-paid money card, and call back with the numbers on the back of the card.

The individual did as instructed but was contacted again by the man saying the card did not go through and they would need to purchase another card and call back with new numbers. Before the man called back with the second set of numbers, he spoke with the Whitehouse Police Department, who told him it was a scam.

 Also in January, a Smith County woman allegedly was taken for $500 through the same scam tactics.

Everyone who receives a jury summons should report for jury duty as instructed, but no member of the Smith County Sheriff's Office or any other law enforcement agency will make contact and ask for a fine to be paid in this manner.

There are no outstanding warrants related to any jury summons, and no one from the Smith County Sheriff's Office or any other law enforcement agency collects fines by phone.

 If anyone receives a similar call, contact the Smith County Sheriff's Office immediately at 903-566-6600.


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