Photo by George Lauby
Clerk of the District Court Deb McCarthy scoffing at the prank call.
If someone on the phone threatens to fine or jail you for missing jury duty last Monday, relax, it’s just a practical joke.
A robo call is circulating through Lincoln County, supposedly from the “National Justice Center,” accusing whoever is listening of failure to “appear for jury duty last Monday morning at 9 a.m.”
In a serious, professional tone, the prank caller says that multiple notifications of the jury duty were sent to the listener by the U.S. Postal Service and by email, without any response; so unfortunately, the listener faces a class 3 misdemeanor.
The prankster asks the listener to press 2 to make arrangements to pay a $500 fine, or press 3 to serve a 30-day sentence.
To hear the call, a person has to dail a 704 area code, which is somewhere in North Carolina.
The call came to the attention Thursday of a Lincoln County District Court bailiff, who reported it to Deb McCarthy, the Clerk of the District Court, who notified the Bulletin.
McCarthy said her office received about a dozen calls from concerned residents in one day.
There is no need to worry, she assures everyone.
Fines are not routinely levied for failure to appear for jury duty. Besides, she said there is no foreseeable jury trail in Lincoln County until late July.
At the end of the robo-call, the prankster offers one final option, to select another choice, and adds, "we strongly suggest that you do.”
The final choice is to “pay it forward,” by giving the 704 phone number to “your top 10 most gullible friends."
The prank seems to feast off the gullible, because after the sound of wild laughter, it entices the listener to punch a number to win a prize.
The prank call is a product of “humor hotlines.com” and is circulating around the country. On June 22, the Stuttgart, Arkansas police chief advised readers of the Stuttgart Daily Leader to ignore the fake call.