The Minot Police Department would like to share that several law enforcement agencies around the state, including in Ward County, have received reports of attempts in what is known as the “Jury Duty Scam”. This scam is not new but a recent uptick in reports to law enforcement has prompted us to share this information. What happens is the scammer calls a would-be victim claiming to be an officer or deputy with a law enforcement agency, or court employee and informs the potential victim that they missed a summons for jury duty. As a result, a warrant for the person’s arrest has been issued. Further, if they wish to avoid being arrested the caller must receive payment immediately. Locally, we have been made aware of a report that a person identifying themselves as “Todd Rupp” with “Ward County Court” made a call informing the potential victim that they were being charged with “two class C misdemeanors” and had a $3,000 fine. In North Dakota, misdemeanors are only classified as class A or class B misdemeanors. Class C misdemeanors do not exist in the North Dakota Century Code. If a legitimate warrant for a person’s arrest exists, “fines” are not collected without a criminal judgement in court after the defendant has appeared and plead, or been found, guilty. Payment over the phone to “make the warrant go away” is not a valid judicial process in North Dakota. A defendant named in a warrant for their arrest, can only clear the warrant by turning themselves in, or being arrested in the field, by law enforcement officers, who collect bond (if required by the courts as stated on the warrant) at booking. Unexpected phone collections of bond or fines does not occur. Other facts that show this, and other scam attempts, are fraudulent include demands that the payments be made by prepaid gift cards, must be made immediately, and demands by the scammers they not communicate with anyone else (like calling law enforcement or court clerks back). Scammers will also frequently use high pressure tactics including fear and intimidation to keep the victim from hanging up, such as instructing them step by step on how to and where to obtain gift cards for payment and warning them that law enforcement is on the way to arrest them if they don’t comply. The best defense against falling victim to this and other scams is to simply hang up. If someone suspects they have been a victim of a scam by having shared personal identifying information or have lost money, they are encouraged to file a report with their local law enforcement and can notify the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office – Consumer Protection at 1-800-472-2600. For further information on common scams in North Dakota please visit the North Dakota Attorney General’s website at https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/consumerresources/common-scams.