November 3, 2005                                        Carmella Sabaugh 586-469-7939


County Clerk Warns OF Jury Scam

Commends Macomb County Woman For Quick Thinking

Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh (D-Warren) issued a warning about a jury scam that spread to Macomb County. Sabaugh learned of a scam in which identity thieves call people with the threat of a fine for shirking jury service to coerce those called into providing confidential data, potentially leading to identity theft and fraud. Sabaugh said court employees never call local citizens and ask for Social Security numbers, credit card numbers or other sensitive information. Citizens should not give out such information over the phone to anyone claiming to be with the judicial system.


“This week we announced a major improvement to jury service and I want people to know this new jury scam is completely unrelated,” said Sabaugh.  “Joyce Karasienski is a hero for bringing this jury scam to our attention so we can warn others before it’s too late.”


Sabaugh and Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge Antonio P. Viviano this week launched a major improvement to the jury system called “one-day/one-trial” that shortens jury duty from one week to just one day for most jurors.


Last night around 6:30 p.m., Joyce Karasienski of Sterling Heights received a phone call from a man who said he was from, “The Department of Jurors.”  He told her she was supposed to be at jury duty on Monday.  But Macomb County normally does not have jurors on Mondays.  Ironically, Karasienski was summoned for jury duty over six months ago but was excused for health reasons at that time. The man confirmed the last 4 digits of her social security number, but did not have her entire social security number.  The man said he would have to report this information to the judge.  He then asked her where she works.  That’s when she got suspicious. She asked him for a fax number.  He gave a phone number and then hung up.  The number he gave is disconnected.


“I reported the call to County Clerk Sabaugh and her office acted immediately to warn others,” said Karasienski.


Unfortunately, Macomb County is not alone.  In various parts of the United States, including Texas, New York, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Minnesota, citizens are being targeted by phone calls and threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with jury service in federal or state courts. These calls are not from real court officials.


Federal courts and the Macomb County circuit court do not require anyone to provide any sensitive information in a telephone call. Most contact between a court and a prospective juror will be through the U.S. Mail, and any phone contact by real court officials will not include requests for social security numbers, credit card

numbers or any other sensitive information.


Jury duty is a vital civic responsibility and should be taken seriously by all

citizens. It is a crime for anyone to falsely represent himself or herself as a federal court official.


Persons receiving such a telephone call should get the name and telephone

number of the caller, date and time of the call and should immediately notify

Macomb County Clerk Carmella Sabaugh’s office at 586-469-5844.