The Sheriff of Kennebec County is cautioning residents about a mail scam that demands immediate payment of a fine for missing jury duty.

I've never been called to jury duty. I know, I'm tempting fate by admitting that. But because I've never seen an official call to duty, I'm not sure I'd know what it looks like. But there are components of this scam that arrives in the form of a letter that I'd like to think I'd pick up on.

How Does This Scam Work?

A resident of Kennebec County stopped into the Sheriff's office recently with a letter that she'd received in the mail. The letter was from Kennebec County Sheriff Kevin Moore and stated that she had missed jury duty. First clue that this is fake - Kevin Moore is not the Sheriff. Ken Mason is the Sheriff of Kennebec County.

The letter went on to threaten jail time for skipping jury duty and demanded a fine to avoid being put behind bars. This is your second clue - the Sheriff's Office will never demand immediate payment, let alone send a Deputy to your house to take you to jail. It doesn't work that way.

What Do I Do If I Get One of These Letters?

Sheriff Mason warns residents that there are a lot of bad people who want to cheat them out of their money, so it's important to be vigilant. Anyone who receives a letter, an email, or a phone call that doesn't seem genuine should just ignore it. Never, ever send payment via bitcoin, gift cards, or any other method in response to one of these types of communications. And if you're really not sure whether or not it's real, contact law enforcement and let them help you sort it out.

The sad truth is, if you do fall for one of these scams, you'll probably never see your money again. These crooks are very smart and will make sure that money is sent out of the country, where it's nearly impossible for local law enforcement to trace. Remember, when in doubt, call your local police or sheriff's department before sending any money.

I Don't Live in Kennebec County, So Why Should I Care?

Something I've noticed about these types of scams, they pop up all over the state. This letter said it was from the Kennebec County Sheriff's Office, but it probably won't be long before similar notices are sent in the name of Sheriffs from other Maine counties. If you get one, throw it away.

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