Richard B. Russell Federal Building, Atlanta Richard B. Russell Federal Building, Atlanta

Following reports of scam phone calls about jury service, the federal court in Atlanta is trying to let people know how the real process works.

“Residents of the Northern District of Georgia continue to receive fraudulent phone calls claiming that the victim failed to appear for jury duty in federal court,” the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia announced on its website Wednesday. “The scammer tells the victim that he or she can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid card—such as a Green Dot card or gift card—and then giving the card number to the scammer.”

The court said the scammers are using real addresses and names of law enforcement officers, court officials and federal judges to make the scam appear credible. Scammers may even “spoof” phone numbers on caller ID “so that it falsely appears to be from the court or a government agency.”

The court noted such calls are never legitimate.

“A court will always send a jury summons by U.S. Mail and will never demand payment or sensitive information over the phone,” the announcement said. “A prospective juror who disregards a summons will be contacted by the court clerk’s office and may, in certain circumstances, be ordered to appear before a judge. A fine will never be imposed until after the individual has appeared in court and been given the opportunity to explain a failure to appear.”

The court advises those who receive a scam phone call to “hang up and report it, even if you did not lose any money.” The court asks that those with information contact the Northern District of Georgia jury office at 404-215-1640 with as much information about the caller as possible, including any available caller ID numbers.