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Elderly targeted in identity theft scam

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Con artists are posing as court officials in an attempt to seek personal information from elderly Oklahomans in a new identity theft scam, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Friday.

Unidentified callers pretending to represent local courts have called people in various parts of the state asking why they did not appear for jury duty, Edmondson said. The targets of the scam generally replies that they had not received a summons and did not know they were needed for jury duty.

The caller then states that an arrest warrant has been issued for the victim's failure to appear and asks for the person's birth day and Social Security number -- information needed to steal a person's identity.

"Our warning is not to fall for that kind of scam," Edmondson said. "Don't give that kind of information over the phone."

He said AARP Oklahoma reported that several elderly residents had received calls from people purporting to be court officials who sought personal information.

Edmondson said the elderly are especially vulnerable to the scam's appearance of authority but that he did not know if personal information had been surrendered.

"There is no apparent end to the ingenuity of people who are trying to get your financial information," Edmondson said. "I would characterize them as the scum of the earth."

He said he is not familiar with jury summons procedures in all 77 counties but that receiving a call from someone who claims to be a court official "should send up warning flags."

He said people who receive calls should ask for the caller's name and hang up. They should then call the local court clerk's office to determine whether they actually missed jury service.

Edmondson said suspicious calls should be reported to local police and his office's consumer protection unit.
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