OLATHE, Kan. — An Olathe man is warning others after he almost became victim to a jury duty scam going around Johnson County.
“For a while, I was getting going because everything I Googled was matching up,” Brad Papa said.
The new scam has many scratching their heads. It makes its victims think they’ve missed jury duty. Papa, an Olathe realtor, almost fell for it. After all, you never think it will happen to you — until it does.
“They just said, ‘Hey, is this Brad Papa?’ I said, ‘Yes, it is.’ And they said, ‘Hey, we need you to come to the sheriff`s office,’ and I was like, ‘Whoa, what`s going on?’” Papa said.
You think you’ll never fall for it, but scammers are getting more convincing.
“If they were to say give me your credit card or social security number, it would have been very obvious at that point. But the way they kind of were manipulating at the beginning, it did make it easier to fall into,” Papa added.
He got a phone call from a phone number with a 913 area code last week informing him he missed jury duty.
“I was like, ‘Well, I never got anything in the mail,’” Papa said.
He said it seemed suspicious, but he went on Google and everything the person was saying matched up — so he wanted to be 100 percent certain.
“He basically said if you come down here in 45 minutes to the sheriff`s office, we`ll take care of everything and go from there,” Papa said.
The address he got matched the actual Johnson County Sheriff`s Office. The scammer told him to bring ID, gave him two case numbers for the two warrants against him, and asked Papa to bring a form of payment.
“I just don`t get what`s going on, but I just don`t want to be in trouble, so I just wanted to go there,” Papa said.
He said he asked his wife to call police to ask just in case. Police told them it was a scam, and he hung up the phone.
Now, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is also sending out a warning about the scam.
“It seems like these scams kind of go in cycles, Johnson County Sheriff’s Deputy Claire Canaan said. “One week we`ll hear about one, and then the next week we`ll hear about a different one, and then two or three weeks later we`ll hear about the one we heard about the first week.”
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will never call to tell you that you have a warrant for your arrest.
“We`re not going to tell you to come meet us somewhere to pay for a warrant,” Canaan said.
“There was a small chance that I overlooked something in the mail, and that would be a bad thing to overlook,” Papa said.
Johnson County’s court administrator said that’s unlikely.
First, you would get a post card with instructions to go online to fill out a jury questionnaire. Then, you will be put into a pool that will be summoned. Finally, you’ll receive a letter from the court with a date to appear.
The only way you’ll be notified is if you actually fail to appear on your summons date, and you’ll be asked to contact the court giving you a chance to explain why. They wouldn’t automatically issue warrant for arrest.
“I wasn’t planning on paying anyone, but I at least wanted to meet someone and say, ‘What`s going on here?” Papa said.
The sheriff’s office said trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling, it’s probably a scam.
You can always check the sheriff’s office website. They have a “warrant search” option. If you still have questions, the agency’s non-emergency number is 913-782-0720.